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Engrovrd by J Morns. 



^7 ^7 






THE 



COMPLETE WORKS 



REV. ANDREW FULLER, 



WITH A MEMOIR OF HIS LIFE 



ANDREW GUNTON FULLER. 



LONDON : 
G. AND J. DYER, PATERNOSTER ROW. 

MDCCCXLVI. 



ex 



JOHN CHILDS AND SON, BUNGAY. 



ADVERTISEMENT 



TO THE FIRST COLLECTED EDITION. 



THE editor in presenting to the public what has been long called for, viz. a complete editio 
of the works of his revered father, thinks it unnecessary for him to offer any remarks on th 
character of writings, most of which have for many years been before the public, and mus 
now be supposed to stand on their own merits. It may however be proper to state, the 
the present edition not only contains a great number of valuable pieces which had befoi 
been unavoidably omitted, but also a portion of original manuscript, part of which is inte; 
woven in the Memoir, and part inserted in the miscellaneous volume. He is not unaware < 
the fact that some individuals, of whose judgment he entertains a high opinion, would ha\ 
preferred a selection of those pieces possessed of the greatest permanent interest. Yet, ( 
say nothing of the extreme difficulty, or perhaps impracticability, of making such a selectic 
as should afford general satisfaction, ample opportunities have presented themselves, durir 
the last few years, of ascertaining that such a course would by no means meet the publ 
wishes. 

On the other hand, he does not profess to have inserted every fragment of Mr. Fuller 
writings, some pieces being totally destitute of present interest, and others superseded I 
the insertion of the substance of them in another form by the author. Of the latter d< 
scription, indeed, are the letters to the late Dr. Ryland, relative to the controversy wit 
Mr. Booth, published in the Baptist Journals in 1827 ; and in the insertion of these tl 
editor confesses he has rather consulted what he thought to be the wish of the public tha 
his own private judgment. 

The Memoirs of the Rev. S. Pearce, containing so large a portion of auto-biography, a] 
by some considered as possessing a doubtful claim to insertion in the works of Mr. Fulle 
In attempting, however, to avoid extremes, the editor has rather wished to steer clear of tl 
error of omission ; while it must be borne in mind that the rejection of every piece the ii 
terest of which might be considered temporary and local could have had little influence c 
the price of the work, which, considering the number and fulness of the pages, he trusts 
entitled to rank among the cheap editions of celebrated writers for which the present perio 
is so happily distinguished. 



iv ADVERTISEMENT. 

In arranging the materials of the present edition, the editor has aimed as much as pos 
sible to preserve a similarity of character in the subjects of the respective volumes. This will 
be found more especially exemplified in the second volume, which comprises the Controversy 
on Faith, in its various aspects ; the third, which contains the Expository matter ; and the 
fourth, which includes the Sermons and Sketches. 

In the compilation of the Memoir little more is professed than a selection, arrangement, 
and compression of the ample materials to which the editor has had free access. 

The reader is requested to observe that all the references made by the author to different 
parts of his own writings are adjusted to the pages they severally occupy in these volumes, 
except in the Reply to Mr. Button and Philanthropos, where they are unavoidably made to 
thejirst edition of the " Gospel Worthy of all Acceptation." 

In concluding this brief announcement the editor cannot omit his grateful acknowledg 
ments to those friends who have kindly furnished him with original manuscript sermons and 
other valuable materials. And he feels his thanks especially due to R. Bowyer, Esq., whose 
kind superintendence of the engraving accompanying this volume has enabled him to present 
to the public a portrait of his father far surpassing in correctness, as well as execution, any 
that has yet appeared. 

West Dray ton, Oct. 5, 1831. 






CONTENTS. 



MEMOIR. 

SECT. I. 1754 TO 1776. Mr. Fuller's Birth Ances 
try Narrative of his early Religious Impressions, 
Conversion, Theological Difficulties, and Entrance 
on the Pastoral Charge at Soham Gradual Change 
of Sentiments Narrative of the Progress of his 
Mind on Justification Marriage . . . . 
II. 1777 TO 1783. Change in his Manner of Preach 
ing Alienation of some of his Hearers Embar 
rassment in his temporal Circumstances Distress 
ing Agitation of Mind in the Prospect of leaving 
Soham Extracts from his Diary Letters to Mr. 
\\allis Removal to Keltering Mutual Testimo 
nies to and from the Church at Soham Statement 
at his Ordination 

III. 1781 TO 1792. Labours at Kettering North 
amptonshire Association Union of Ministers for 
Prayer and Conference relative to the Promotion 
of vital Religion Extracts from his Diary Pub 
lication of his Treatise on the Universal Obligation 
of Faith Controversies arising out of it -Diary 
resumed Letters to Dr. Ryland on the Illness and 
Death of his Daughter Sarah Further Extracts 
from his Diary Illness and Death of his Wife . xxxviii 

IV. 1793 TO 1814. Formation of Baptist Mission- 
Departure of Missionaries Letters on Socinianism 
Second Marriage Preaching in Braybrook 
Church Journey to Scotland Trouble relative to 
his eldest Son Publications on Deism, Universal 
Salvation, Backsliding, Spiritual Pride Second 
Journey to Scotland Journey to Ireland Corre 
spondence with America Diplomas Third _Jour- 
nev to Scotland Correspondence Publication of 
Dialogues, &c. Attack on the Mission Fourth 
Journey to Scotland Charge of Persecution 
Joseph' Fuller Journey to Wales Fire at Seram- 
pore East India Charter Death of Mr. Sutcliff, 

&c l vl 

V. 1814. 1815. Journeys into various partsof Eng 
land Ordination of Mr. Yates at Leicester Com 
mencement of last Illness Attempted Excursion 
t-i the North of England Last Visit to London 
Publication of Sermons Preparation of MSS. on 
the Revelation and on Communion Return of 
Disorder Ordination of Mr. Mack Aggravated 
Symptoms of Disease Last Sermon, and Distri 
bution of the Lord's Supper Visit to Cheltenham 
contemplated and relinquished Last Letter to Dr. 
Ryland Dying Expressions Concluding Scene 
Funeral Extract from Mr. Toller's Sermon 
Marble Tablet Testimonies of the Rev. R. Hall, 
Dr. Newman, and Bible Society Letter of Mrs. 
Fuller to Dr. Rvland Appendix, containing No 
tices of hi? Family, &c 



THE GOSPEL ITS OWN WITNESS, &c. &c. 



Preface 
Introduction 



MM 

' 



PART I. 



11 



11 



THE HOLY NATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION CON 
TRASTED WITH THE IMMORALITY OF DEISM. 

CHAP. I. Christianity reveals a God glorious in Holiness ; 
but Deism, though it acknowledges a God, yet denies 
or overlooks his Moral Character . . . 6 
II. Christianity teaches us to acknowledge God, and ( 
devote ourselves to his Service ; but Deism, though i 
confesses one Supreme Being, yet refuses to worship 
Him 

III. The Christian Standard of Morality is enlarged, and 
free from Impurity ; but Deism confines our Obliga 
tions to those Duties which respect our own Species, 
and greatly palliates Vice with regard to a Breach 
even of them 

IV. Christianity furnishes Motives to a virtuous Life, 
which Deism either rejects, or attempts to undermine 

V. The Lives of those who reject the Gospel will not 
bear a Comparison with the Lives of those who em 
brace it . ri<r ' 

VI Christianity has not oiily produced good b fleets in 
those who cordially believe it, but has given to the 
Morals of Society at large a tone, which Deism, so 
far as it operates, goes to counteract . 
VII. Christianity is a Source of Happiness to Individuals 
and Society ; but Deism leaves both the one and the 
other without Hope ' ' 

PART II. 

THE HARMONY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION CONSIDERED 
AS AN EVIDENCE OF ITS DIVINITY. 

CHAP. I. The Harmony of Scripture with historic Fact ( 

evinced by the Fulfilment of Prophecy . . .28 
II. The Harmony of Scripture with Truth evinced from 
its Agreement with the Dictates of an enlightened 
Conscience, and the Result of the closest Observation 30 
III. The Harmony of Scripture with its own Professions 

argued from the Spirit and Style in which it is written 32 
IV. The Consistency of the Christian Doctrine, particu 
larly that of Salvation through a Mediator, with 

sober Reason 

V. The Consistency of the Scripture Doctrine of Re 
demption with the modern Opinion of the Magnitude 
of Creation _ 39 



CONTENTS. 



CONCLUDING ADDRESSES. 



To Deists 
To the Jews . 
To Christians 



45 

47 
49 



THE CALVINISTIC AND SOCINIAN SYSTEMS 
EXAMINED AND COMPARED AS TO THEIR 
MORAL TENDENCY. 



Preface 

LETT. I. Introduction and General Remarks 

II. The Systems compared as to their Tendency to con 
vert Profligates ....; 

III. Tendency to convert Professed Unbelievers . 

IV. The Argument from the number of Converts to So- 
cinianism examined ...... 

V. On the Standard of Morality 
VI. Promotion of Morality in General 

VII. Love to God 

VIII. Candour and Benevolence to Men 

IX. Humility 

X. Charity ; in which is considered the charge of bigotry 

XI. Love to Christ 

XII. Veneration for the Scriptures 

XIII. Happiness, or Cheerfulness of Mind . 

XIV. Motives to Gratitude, Obedience, and Heavenly - 
mindedness 

XV. On the Resemblance and Tendency of Socinianism 

to Infidelity . 

POSTSCRIPT. Establishing the Principle of the Work 
against the Exceptions of Dr. Toulmin, Mr. Bel- 
sham, &c. 



89 

91 

97 

100 

105 



SOCINIANISM INDEFENSIBLE, &c. &c. ; CON 
TAINING A REPLY TO DR. TOULMIN AND 
MR. KENTISH. 



Introduction 



110 



REPLY TO DR. TOULMIN. 



SECT. I. Ground of Argument Stated and Defended .111 
11. Further Remarks on Dr. Toulmin, with Replies to 
his Animadversions, viz. His Complaint of the Attack 
not being made on the Fundamental Principles of his 
System Principles of Calvinism not essential to 
Devotion Want of Piety tacitly admitted by Dr. 
T. His Method of accounting for it ruinous to his 
Cause His Method of accounting for the Unsuccess- 
fulness of their Preaching Complaint of the Appella 
tion Socinians, and plea for that of Unitarians 
Socinianism leads to Deism Case of the Puritans 
and Socinians dissimilar Grounds of Love to Christ 
Complaint of Injustice Criminality of Error and 
judging the Heart 113 

APPENDIX. Remarks on Dr. Toulmin's Review of the 
Acts of the Apostles 117 

REPLY TO MR. KENTISH. 

the Title of his Discourse On his Declining a full 
Discussion of the Subject The concluding Passage 
of the " Systems Compared " defended against Mr. 
K. and the Reviewers Reply to Mr. K.'s Six Pre 
liminary Remarks . . . . . . . 119 

Mr. Kentish's Four Heads of Inquiry examined : 

I. On the Divine, the Social, and Personal Virtues 
Love to God Love to (Christ Fear of God 
Confidence in God Trusting in Christ His Ap 
peal to Fact Innocence of Error Further Ap 
peal to Fact 121 

II. Support and Consolation afforded in Temptation, 
Affliction, and Death 128 

III. Conversion of Profligates and Unbelievers . . ib. 

I V. Veneration for the Scriptures and Confirmation of 
Faith in Christianity ib. 

Gloss on John xiv. 28, " My Father is greater than I " . 129 
Review of the Reviewers .... . 130 



REFLECTIONS ON MR. BELSHAM'S REVIEW 
OF MR. WILBERFORCE'S TREATISE ON 
CHRISTIANITY 



131 



LETTERS TO MR. VIDLER ON UNIVERSAL 
SALVATION. 

Advertisement 133 

LETT. I. Expostulation ib. 

II. Reasons for not continuing the Controversy, and 
Replies to Mr. Vidler's Objections to the foregoing 134 

III. Difficulties attending Mr. Vidler's Scheme, and its 
Inconsistency with Scripture . . . . . 

IV. Replies, and Defences of former Reasonings 

V. Evidences of Endless Punishment from Scriptures 
describing the future States of Men in contrast Fu 
ture Punishment described by the terms " everlast 
ing, eternal, for ever, and for ever and ever " 
Scripture Phraseology implying the Doctrine Pas 
sages intimating that the present is the only State of 

Probation 

VI. Replies to Objections 

VII. Examination of Mr. Vidler's System, and his Ar 
guments in support of it 145 

VIII. Further Examination, with Replies to Animad 
versions 



135 

137 



139 
142 



147 



THE GOSPEL WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION. 



Advertisement to the Second Edition 
Preface 



. 150 
ib. 



PART I. 

THE SUBJECT SHOWN TO BE IMPORTANT, STATED, AND 



EXPLAINED 



152 



PART II. 



ARGUMENTS TO PROVE FAITH IN CHRIST TO BE THE DUTY 
OF ALL WHO HEAR, OR HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR, T'HE 
GOSPEL. 

PROP. I. Unconverted Sinners are commanded, &c. to 

believe in Christ 157 

II. Every Man is bound cordially to receive what God 
reveals 159 

III. The Gospel, though, strictly speaking, not a Law, 
virtually requires Obedience, and such as includes 
saving Faith . 161 

IV. Unbelief is ascribed to Men's Depravity, and is it 
self a heinous Sin 162 

V. God has threatened and inflicted the most awful 
Punishments on Sinners, for their not believing on 
Jesus Christ . . . . . . . .163 

VI. Other spiritual Exercises, inseparably connected 
with Faith in Christ, are represented as the Duty 
of Men in general 165 

PART III. 

OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. 

On the Principle of Holiness possessed by Man in Inno 
cence 168 

Concerning th Decrees of God 169 

On Particular Redemption . . . . . 170 

On Sinners being under the Covenant of Works . . 171 
On the Inability of Sinners to believe in Christ, &c. . ib. 

Of the Work of the Holy Spirit 1/3 

On the Necessity of a Divine Principle, in order to be 
lieving .174 

CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS. 

On the Warrant to believe 1 75 

On the Influence of Faith on Justification . , ib. 



CONTENDS. 



IX 



On the alarming Situation of Unbelievers . . .175 
On the Duty of Ministers in dealing with the Unconverted 176 

APPENDIX. 

On the Question, Whether a holy Disposition of Heart be 

necessary, in order to believing 179 



DEFENCE OF THE " GOSPEL WORTHY OF ALL 
ACCEPTATION," IN REPLY TO MR. BUTTON 
AND PHILANTHROPOS. 

REPLY TO MR. BOTTOM. 

Preface 191 

SECT. I. Introduction and General Remarks . . 193 
II. On the Nature and Definition of Faith . . .194 

III. On Faith being commanded by God . . . 196 

IV. On the Obligation of Men to embrace whatever 
(ind reveals; on Mr. B.'s Charge of Illiberality, &c. 198 

V. On the causes to which the Want of Faith is 
ascribed ......... 199 

VI. On Punishments being threatened and inflicted for 

Unbelief 201 

VII. On Spiritual Dispositions 202 

VIII. IX. On the State of Man in Innocence . 203, 204 
X. Divine Decrees, Use of Means, Particular Re 
demption, &c 206 

XI. Tendency of these Principles to establish the Doc 
trines of Human Depravity, Divine Grace, Work of 

the Spirit, &c 207 

XII. Considerations recommended to Mr. B. and the 
Reader 209 

REPLY TO PHILANTHROPOS. 

Introduction . . . 210 

SECT. I. Whether Regeneration is prior to our coming to 

Christ 211 

II. Whether Moral Inability is, or is not, excusable 216 

On our being born in Sin ib. 

On our Moral Inability being insuperable . . 218 
On Grace being proviaed to deliver Men from it . ib. 

III. Whether Faith is required by the Moral Law . 221 

IV. On the Death of Christ 223 

1. Whether it included an absolute Design to save 
some 224 

2. The Arguments of Philanthropes considered . 226 

3. Universal Calls consistent with its limited Extent . 229 

4. General Reflections 231 



THE REALITY AND EFFICACY OF DIVINE 
GRACE, &c. &c., BY AGNOSTOS. 

Advertisement from Dr. Ryland's Edition of the Works 234 

LETT. I. General Remarks ib. 

II. On the Work of the Spirit 235 

III. IV. V. VI. VII. On Inability to do the Will of 

God. 

Mr. Taylor's Notions of Free Agency . . 237 
Confounds the Subject of Natural and Moral 

Ability, by a misapplication of Terms . . 238 
H is I'lori for a joint Consideration of his Arguments ib. 
Evil Propensities blameworthy, though derived 

from the Fall 239 

If not blameworthy, in themselves considered, those 
Circumstances mentioned by Mr. T. cannot ren 
der them so 210 

The bringing in the Grace of the Gospel to this end 

subversive of both Law and Gospel . . . 242 
Natural Ability sufficient to render Men account 
able Beings, with respect to Moral and Spiritual 

Exercises 245 

\ 1 1 1. On Faith being a Requirement of the Moral Law 2 Hi 
IX. On Ihc Death of Christ. Statement of the Sub 
ject Argument from Divine Goodness con 
sidered 247 

X. Proof that all who are saved are saved in conse 
quence of a Special Design . . . .248 
XI. Mr. T.'s answer to Mr. A.'s Arguments for a limit 
ation of Design considered . . . . 2 19 



LETT. XII. Reply to Mr. T.'s Defence of his former Argu 
ments for the Universal Extent of Christ's Death 251 

XIII. Defence of Arguments for the consistency of a 
General Call with Necessity of special and ef 
ficacious Grace 254 



STRICTURES ON SANDEMANIANISM, IN 
TWELVE LETTERS TO A FRIEND. 



258 

263 
266 
269 
272 

276 



LETT. I. Introduction . . . . . . . 256 

II. General View of the System, with its leading 
points of Difference from the Systems which it op 
poses . . ' . . . . _ . _ . 

III. Consequences of Mr. Sandeman's view of justify 
ing Faith 

IV. Faith of Devils and Nominal Christians . 
V. Connexion between Repentance and Faith . 

VI. Connexion between Knowledge and Disposition 
VII. Connexion between Regeneration and Faith 
VIII. Influence of these Principles on the Doctrine of 
free Justification by Faith in the Righteousness of 

Christ 279 

IX. On certain New Testament Practices . . 283 

X. Constitution of Apostolic Churches . . . 286 

XI. Of the Kingdom of Christ . . . .289 

XII. The Spirit of the System compared with that of 

Primitive Christianity 291 



DIALOGUES AND LETTERS BETWEEN 
CRISPUS AND GAIUS. 

DIAL. I. On the Peculiar Turn of the present Age . 294 
II. Importance of Truth ... .295 

III. Connexion of Doctrine, Experience, and Practice 296 

IV. Moral Character of God 297 

V. Free Agency of Man 298 

VI. Goodness of the Moral Law . . . .299 

VII. Antinomianism ib. 

VIII. Human Depravity 300 

IX. Total Depravity of Human Nature . . . 301 

LETT. 1, 2, 3. Total Depravity of Human Nature 302, 303, 304 

4, 5. Consequences resulting from this Doctrine 305, 306 



CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN PETER, JAMES, 
AND JOHN. 



CONV. I. On Imputation 

II. On Substitution 
III. On Particular Redemption 



309 
312 
314 



LETTERS ON THE CONTROVERSY WITH THE 
REV. A. BOOTH. 



LETT. I. Narrative . 
II. Imputation . 

III. Substitution . 

IV. Change of Sentiments 
V. Calvinism 

VI. Baxterianism 



317 
319 
320 
3-22 
323 
324 



LETTERS RELATIVE TO MR. MARTIN'S PUB 
LICATION ON THE DUTY OF FAITH IN 
CHRIST. 

LETT. I. Mr. Martin's Accusations .... 325 
II. General Observations 327 

III. Love to God 329 

IV. Divine Efficiency 31 

V. Human Endeavour 333 

POSTSCRIPT. Mr. Martin's Treatment of Mr. Evans . 334 



ANTINOMIANISM CONTRASTED WITH THE 
RELIGION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. 

Introduction 334 

PAKT I. Brief View of Antinomianism, with Arguments 



CONTENTS. 



against the leading Principle from which it is de 
nominated ........ 33 

PAHT II. Its Influence in perverting some of the Princi- 

cipal Doctrines of the Gospel .... 341 



EXPOSITORY DISCOURSES ON THE BOOK OF 
GENESIS. 

Dedication 347 

Disc. 1. On the book in general, and the first day's crea 
tion, chap. i. 14 ib. 

2. On the last five days' creation, chap. i. 6 31 348 

3. Creation reviewed, char ii. 349 

4. The fall of man, chap. iii. 17 ... 351 

5. The trial of the transgressors, chap. iii. 8 14 . 352 

6. The curse of Satan, including a blessing to man 
Effects of the fall, chap. iii. 15 21 . . .353 

7. The offerings of Cain and Abel, chap. iv. 1 8 354 

8. Cain's punishment and posterity, chap. iv. 
9-24 . . . . ... I .356 

9. The generations of Adam, chap. iv. 25, 26; 
chap, v 357 

10. The cause of the deluge, chap. vi. 1 7 . . 358 

11. Noah favoured of God, and directed to build the 
ark, chap. vi. 822 359 

12. 13. The flood, chap. vii. viii. . . 361, 362 

14. God's covenant with Noah, chap. ix. 1 24 . 363 

15. Noah's prophecy, chap. ix. 2527 . . 364 

16. The generations of Noah, chap. x. . . . 366 

17. The confusion of tongues, chap. xi. 1 9 . 367 

18. The generations of Shein, and the call of Abram, 
chap. xi. 1032; xii. 14 368 

19. Abram in Canaan removal to Egypt, chap. 

xii. 6-20 . .370 

20. The separation of Abram and Lot, chap. xiii. ib. 

21. Abram s slaughter of the kings, chap. xiv. . 372 

22. Abram justified by faith, chap. xv. 1 6 . 373 

23. Renewal of promises to Abram, chap. xv. 721 375 

24. Sarai's crooked policy, chap. xvi. . . . ib. 

25. Covenant with Abram and his seed, chap. xvii. 377 

26. Abraham entertains angels intercedes for 
Sodom, chap, xviii 379 

27. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, chap. 

xix 380 

28. Abraham and Abimelech, chap. xx. . . 382 

29. The birth of Isaac, &c., chap. xxi. . . .383 

30. Abraham commanded to oner up Isaac, chap, 
xxii 3g5 

31. The death and burial of Sarah, chap, xxiii. 386 

32. 33. Abraham sends his servant to obtain a wife 

for Isaac, chap, xxiv 387 389 

34. Abraham marries Keturah dies Ishmael's' 
posterity and death birth, &c. of Esau and Jacob 
chap, xxv | 390 

35. Isaac and Abimelech, chap. xxvi. . . 393 

36. Jacob obtains the blessing, chap, xxvii. . . 395 

37. Departs from Beersheba, chap, xxviii. 397 

38. Arrives at Haran, chap, xxix 398 

39. Residence in Haran, chap. xxx. ; xxxi. 116 400 

40. Departs from Haran, chap. xxxi. 1755 . . 401 

41. Is afraid of Esau wrestles with the angel, chap, 
xxxn .404 

42. Interview with Esau arrives in Canaan, chap 
xxxiii . .' 405 

43. Dinah defiled, and the Shechemites murdered 
chap, xxxiv 407 

44. Jacob removes to Beth-el covenant renewed 
death of Deborah, Rachel, and Isaac Esau's 
generations, chap. xxxv. xxxvi 408 

45. Joseph sold for a slave, chap, xxxvii. . . ' 411 

46. Jiidah's conduct Joseph's promotion and 
temptation, chap, xxxviii. xxxix. . . . 413 

47. Joseph in prison, chap. xl. . . . ' 415 

48. Joseph's advancement chap. xii. . . 416 

49. First interview between Joseph and his brethren 
chap. .xiii. ; 41g 

OU. Second interview between Joseph and his bre 
thren, chap, xliii. . . 420 
r'.V { h f ?YP. in Be njamin's sack, chap, x'liv. 11 7' 422 
5/. Judah s intercession, chap. xliv. 18-34 . 423 
W. Joseph makes himself known to his brethren 

chap, xlv ' 4;M 

54. Jacob goes down into Egypt, chap. xlvi. ' ' 426 
5 Josephs conduct in the settlement of his bre- 
aren, and in the affairs of Egypt, chap xlvii 427 



Disc. 56. Interview with his dying father blessing of 

his sons, chap, xlviii 429 

57. Jacob's blessing on the tribes, chap. xlix. . 430 

58. Jacob's burial Joseph removes the fears of his 
brethren death of Joseph, chap. 1. ... 433 

Conclusion 434 



EXPOSITORY DISCOURSES ON THE 
APOCALYPSE. 



Dedication 436 

Abstract of the Prophecy ib. 

Disc. 1. Introduction and Preparatory Vision, chap. i. . 439 
2, 3. Epistles to the Churches, chap. ii. iii. 440, 442 

4. Vision of the Throne of God, chap. iv. . . 444 

5. The Book with Seven Seals, chap. v. . . ib. 

6. 7. The Seals opened, chap. vi. . . 445, 447 

8. Sealing of the Servants of God, chap. vii. . 447 

9. Seventh Seal subdivided into Seven Trumpets, 
chap. viii. 112 448 

Appendix. History of the First Four Trumpets . 449 
Disc. 10. First Woe Trumpet ; or the Smoke and Lo 
custs, chap. viii. 13; ix. 1 12 .... 451 

11. Second Woe Trumpet; or the Army of Horse 
men, chap. ix. 13 21 452 

12. Introduction to the Western Papal Apostacy, 
chap, x 453 

THE FIRST GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PAPAL 
APOSTACY. 

Disc. 13. State of the Church under the Papal Apostacy, 

chap. xi. 1 6 ...*... 454 
Appendix. History of the Witnesses .... 455 
Disc. 14. Slaughter and Resurrection of the Witnesses, 
with the Falling of the Tenth Part of the City, 

chap. xi. 713 457 

15. Sounding of the Seventh Angel, chap. xi. 
1419 .459 



THE SECOND GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 

Disc. 16. The Great Red Dragon, and the Woman flee 
ing into the Wilderness, chap. xii. 1 6 . . 460 
17. War between Michael and the Dragon, chap, 
xii. 717 461 

THE THIRD GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 

Disc. 18. The Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Horns, 

chap. xiii. I 10 462 

19. The Beast with Two Horns like a Lamb, chap, 
xiii. 1118 464 

20. The Lamb's Company, chap. xiv. 15 . 465 

21. Messages of the Three Angels, the Harvest, 
and the Vintage, chap. xiv. 6 20 . . . 466 

22. Introduction to the vials, chap. xv. . . 467 

23. 24. On the Vials, chap. xvi. . . . 468, 469 

25. The Great Harlot and the Beast, chap. xvii. 470 

26. Fall of Babylon Marriage of the Lamb, 
chap, xviii. : xix. 1 10 472 

27. Beast ana False Prophet taken, chap. xix. 
11-21 . 474 

28. The Millennium, chap. xx. 16 . . 475 

29. The Falling away End of the World Resur 
rection Last Judgment, chap. xx. 7 15 . . 477 

30. New Heaven New Earth New Jerusalem, 
chap. xxi. ; xxii. 1 5 . . . . . 478 

31. Attestations to the Truth of the Prophecy, 
chap. xxii. 621 479 

onclusion 480 

Addition in 1814 ... .482 



EXPOSITION OF THE SERMON ON THE 
MOUNT. 

SECT. 1. The Beatitudes, Matt. v. 112 . . .483 
2. Character of Christians and Ministers, ver. 
1316 .485 



CONTENTS. 



SECT. 3. Perpetuity and Spirituality of the Moral Law, 

ver. 17-32 486 

4. On Oaths, ver. 3337 487 

5. On resisting Evil, ver. 3842 . . . .488 
G. Love to Enemies, ver. 4318 . . . ib. 

7. Almsgiving and Prayer, vi. 1 8 . . . 489 

8. The Lord's Prayer, ver. 9-15 . . . -190 

9. Fasting and other duties, ver. 1634 . . 493 

10. Judging others Casting Pearls before Swine, 
chap. TO. 16 494 

11. Prayer and Equity, ver 7 12 ib. 

12. Broad and Narrow Way Criterion of Teach 
ers, ver. 1320 495 

13. Last Judgment Test of Religion, ver. 2129 ib. 



EXPOSITION OF PASSAGES RELATING TO 
THE CONVERSION OF THE JEWS. 

LETT. 1. Ezekiel xxxvii 497 

'_'. Hosea i. ii. iii 498 

3. Hosea xi. xiii. xiv. ; Jer. xxxi. 1521 . . 499 

4. Isa. xi. xii 500 

5. Zech. xi. xii. xiii. 1 502 



EXPOSITION OF CERTAIN PROPHECIES 
RELATING TO THE MILLENNIUM. 



Isaiah xxvi., &c. 



f)(i3 



EXPOSITION OF THOSE SCRIPTURES WHICH 
REFER TO THE UNPARDONABLE SIN. 

John ix. 41; xii. 42; Acts viii. 22; 1 Tim. i. 13; Heb. 
vi. 4; x. 26; 2 Pet. ii. 20; 1 John v. 16 . . .505 



EXPOSITORY NOTES ON VARIOUS PASSAGES. 

Appearance to Elijah, 1 Kings xix. .... 507 
Lying Spirit persuading Ahab, 1 Kings xxii. 21 23 . 508 
Mystery of Providence, Job xii. 625 .... 509 

Wisdom proper to Man, Job xxviii ib. 

Inward Witness of the Spirit, Psal. Ixxxv. 8; xxxv. 3 . 510 
Prov. xii. 1. 3. 5; xiii. 11. 14. 19; xiv. 2. 6, 7. 23; xxx. 

24-28 . 511 

Mediocrity in Wisdom and Virtue Satirized, Eccles. vii. 

15-19 512 

Fulfilment of Prophecy, Isa. ix. 7 . . . . 513 
The Burden of Dumah, Isa. xxi. 11,12 . . . .514 
Application of Promises, as Isa. xliii. 25 ... 515 
Destruction of the Mystical Babylon, Isa. Ixiii. 1 6 . ib. 
Ezekiel's Visions, Ezek. i. and x. .... 516 
Daniel's Conflict with the Persian Court, Dan. x. 13 . ib. 

The Royal Tribe, Zech. x. 4 517 

On the Latter Days, Mai. iii. 18 ib. 

Kingdom of Heaven forced, Matt. xi. 12, 13 . 519 
The Duty of Christian Forgiveness, Matt, xviii. 23, &c. . ib. 
Parable of the Unjust Steward, Luke xvi. 112 . 520 
Case of the Converted Thief, Luke xxiii. 3943 . . 521 
John's Testimony to Jesus, John iii. 22 26 . . 523 
On the Trial of the Spirits, John iv. 1 . . . . ib. 
Christ washing the Disciples' Feet, John xiii. . . 524 

Final Restitution, Acts iii. 21 525 

Weaker Disciples Honoured, 1 Cor. xii. 24 . . 526 
Vindication of the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 16 . . 527 
Evangelical Truth the object of Evangelical Research, 

1 Pet. i. 12 528 

Regeneration by the Word of God, 1 Pet. i. 23 . .529 



EXPOSITION OF PASSAGES APPARENTLY 
CONTRADICTORY. 



John T. 40, with vi. 44, 45. 65 
Gen. vi. 9, with 1 Sam. xv. 29 
1 Cor. x. 33, with Gal. i. 10 
Gen. viii. 22, with xiv. 6 
Prov. xxvi. 4, with xxvi. 5 
Gal. ii. 16, with James ii. 21 



529 
531 

ib. 
532 

ib. 

ib. 



Exod. xx. 5, with Ezek. xviii. 20 532 

Gen. xiii. 17; xxiii. 17, 18, with Acts vii. 5 ib 

Gen. xxxii. 30, with Exod. xxxiii. 20 . . . .533 
2 Sam. xxiv. 1, with 1 Chron. xxi. 1 . . . . ib. 

Matt. vii. 7, 8, with Luke xiii. 24 ib. 

Prov. xxvii. 2, with 1 Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xii. 11 . ib. 

Matt. v. 16, with Matt. vi. 1 534 

Matt. ix. .'*), with Mark v. 19 ib. 

Matt. xi. 14. with John i. 21 ib. 

Matt. xxi. 38, with 1 Cor. ii. 8 . 

Luke i. 33, with 1 Cor. xv. 24 . 

Luke x. 23, with John xx. 29 .... 

John v. 31, with viii. 14 

Heb. xi. 33, with xi. 39 

John xx. 17, with xx. 27 

Rom. ii. 14, with Eph. ii. 3 

Rom. xiv. 5, with Gal. iv. 10, 11 ... 

Acts ix. 7, with xxii. 9 

1 Cor. x. 13, with 2 Cor. i. 8 . 

Gal. vi. 2, with Gal. vi. 5 

Phil. iv. 5, with 2 Thess. ii. 2 . 

1 John i. 8, with 1 John iii. 9 

2 Tim. iii. 12, with Prov. xvi. 7 ... 
1 Cor. viii. 813, with 1 Cor. x. 20, 21 



ib. 
535 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 
536 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 

ib. 
537 

ib. 



SERMONS AND SKETCHES. 

SERM. 1. The Nature and Importance of Walking by 

Faith, 2 Cor. v. 7 538 

2. The Qualifications and Encouragements of a 
Faithful Minister, illustrated by the Character 
and success of Barnabas, Acts xi. 24 . . .516 

3. The Instances, the Evil Nature, and the Dan 
gerous Tendency of Delay in the Concerns of 
Religion, Hag. i. 2 550 

4. The Blessedness of the Dead who die in the 
Lord, Rev. xiv. 13 553 

5. The Nature and Importance of a Deep and 
Intimate Knowledge ot Divine Truth, Heb. v. 
1214 557 

6. The Christian Doctrine of Rewards, Gal. vi. 

7, 8 . . 563 

7. God's Approbation of our Labours necessary to 
the Hope of Success, Numb. xiv. 8 . . . 567 

8. The Obedience of Churches to their Pastors 
explained and enforced, Heb. xiii. 17 . . 573 

9. Christian Patriotism ; or the Duty of Religious 
People towards' their Country, Jer. xxix. 7 . 576 

10. Jesus the True Messiah, Psal. xl. 6-^8 . 579 

11. Solitary Reflection ; or the Sinner directed to 
look into himself for Conviction, Psal. iv. 4 . 584 

12. Advice to the Dejected ; or the Soul directed 

to look out of itself for Consolation, Psal. xiii. 2 587 

13. The Prayer of Faith; exemplified in the 
Woman of Canaan, Matt. xv. 2128 . . 591 

14. The Future Perfection of the Church, con 
trasted with its present Imperfections, Eph. v. 
25-27 .594 

15. The Gospel the only Effectual Means of pro 
ducing Universal Peace among Mankind, Mai. 

iv. 5,6 598 

16. The Reception of Christ the Turning Point of 
Salvation, John i. 1012 604 

17. 18, 19. On Justification, Rom. iii. 24 608, 611, 614 

20. The Believer's Review of his Past and Present 
state, Eph. ii. 13 617 

21. The Nature and Importance of Love to God, 
Josh, xxiii. 11 621 

22. Conformity to the Death of Christ, Phil. iii. 10 623 

23. The Life of Christ the Security and Felicity of 

his Church, Rev. i. 18 . . . . ' . 626 

24. Christianity the Antidote to Presumption and 
Despair, 1 John ii. 1 . .... 628 

25 The Sorrow attending Wisdom and Know 
ledge, Eccles. i. 17, 18 631 

26. The Magnitude of the Heavenly Inheritance, 
Rom. viii. 1823 634 

27. The Principles and Prospects of a Servant of 
Christ, Jude 20, 21 637 

28. Paul's Prayer for the Philippians, PhiL i. 
9-11 . . . . . . . . .644 

29. The Peace of God, Phil. iv. 7 . .646 

30. Soul Prosperity, 3 John 2 . . . .649 

31. The Common Salvation, Jude 3 . . .652 

32. The Good Man's Desire for the Success of God's 
Cause, Psal. xc. 16, 17 653 



CONTENTS. 



SERM. 33. Prayer of David in the Decline of Life, Psal. 

Ixxi. 9 655 

34. Advantages of Early Piety, Psal. xc. 14 . 656 

35. The Choice of Moses, Heb. xi. 2126 . . 657 

36. Paul's Prayer for the Ephesians, Eph. iii. 
14-16 . . . . . . . .659 

37. Individual and Social Religion, 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5 660 

38. On the Vanity of the Human Mind, Psal. 
xciv. 11 661 

39. Equity of the Sentence recorded against those 
who love not the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 
xvi. 22 663 

40. Fellowship of God's People in Evil Times, 
Mai. iii. 16, 17 .... .664 

41. Public Worship, Psal. Ixviii. 2628 . . 665 

42. Great Sinners encouraged to return to God, 
Deut. iv. 29 ib. 

43. Consolation to the Afflicted, John xiv. 2 4 666 

44. On Coyetousness, Luke xii. 15 ... 667 

45. Mysterious Nature of Man, Psal. cxxxix. 14 668 

46. Life and Death ; or the Broad and the Narrow 
Way, Matt. vii. 13, 14 669 

47. Hope in the Last Extremity, Jonah ii. 4 . 670 

48. Past Trials a Plea for Future Mercies, Psal. 

xc. 15 672 

49. The Changes of Time, 1 Chron. xxix. 29, 30 673 

50. On True Wisdom, Prov. xiv. 8 . . .674 

51. Irremediable Evils, Eccles. 5. 15 . . . 675 

52. Importance of Union of Public and Private In 
terests in the Service of God, Neh. iii. 2830 . 676 

53. Christ our Substitute in Death and Judgment, 
Heb. ix. 27, 28 . 678 

54. Pastors required to feed the Flock of Christ, 
John xxi. 16 679 

55. Spiritual Knowledge and Holy Love necessary 

for the Gospel Ministry, John v. 35 . . . 680 

56. On an Intimate and Practical Acquaintance 
with the Word of God, Ezra vii. 10 . . .682 

57. Ministers are appointed to root out Evil and to 
Cultivate that which is Good, Jer. i. 10 . 683 

58. Ministers should be concerned not to be De 
spised, Tit. ii. 15 684 

59. Ministers are Fellow Labourers with God, 1 Cor 

685 

60. The Nature of the Gospel, and the Manner in 
which it ought to be Preached, Col. iv. 3, 4 .687 

61. The Work and Encouragement of the Christian 
Minister, Matt. xxv. 21 .... jb 

62. On Preaching Christ, &c., 2 Cor. iv. 5 ' . ' 690 
03. The Influence of the Presence of Christ on the 

Mind and Work of a Minister, 2 Tim. iv. 22 691 

64. Habitual Devotedness to the Work of the Mi 
nistry, 1 Tim. iv. 15, 16 692 

65. Affectionate concern of a Minister for the Salva- 
rjj'Tu '^ 8 Hearers 1 The >- ii- 7, 8 . . . 693 
06. The Nature and Encouragements of the Mis 
sionary Work, John xx. 21 ... 694 

67. The Christian Ministry a Great Work,' Neh. 

VI. 3 ggg 

68. Faith in the Gospel a necessary Prerequisite 

to Preaching it 2 Cor. iv. 13 . . 696 

69. The Youne Minister exhorted to make full ' 
Proof of his Ministry, 2 Tim. iv. 5, 6 . 697 

70. Importance of Christian Ministers considered 

as the Gift of Christ, Psal. Ixviii. 18 . 698 

71. Nature and Importance of Christian Love' 
John xiii. 34, 35 .... '599 

72. Christian Churches Fellow Helpers' with their 
Pastors to the Truth, 3 John 8 . '700 

73. On Christian Stedfastness, 1 Thess. iii. 8' '701 

74. Churches Walking in the Truth the Joy of Mi- 

r nisters, 3 John 4 .... 702 

75. Churches should exhibit the Light of the Gos 
pel, Rev. 11. 1 ... 703 

76. On Cultivating a Peaceful Disposition, Rom! 
XIV. 19 .... 704 



06 



77. Christian Churches are God's Building, i Cor. 

"' "... 71 

78 ;, The Satisfaction derived from a Consciousness 

that our Religious Exercises have been charac- 
7Q TU n y Go J y Simplicity, 2 Cor. i. 12 . . ib. 

79. The Reward of a Faithful Minister, 1 Thess. 

* " * 7ft7 

80. Ministers and Churches exhorted to' serve one 
another in Love, Gal. v. 13 70S 

Ministerial and Christian Communion, Rom' 
' " 709 



SKKM. 82. Ministers and Christians exhorted to hold fast 

the Gospel, 2 Tirn. i. 13 710 

83. Nature of True Conversion and Extent of it 
under the Reign of the Messiah, Psal. xxii. 27 71 1 

84. Effect of Things differ according to the State of 
the Mind, Tit. i. 15 712 



CIRCULAR LETTERS. 

The Excellence and Utility of Hope, A. D. 1782 . . 714 
Causes of Declension in Religion, and Means of Revival, 

1785 . 718 

Why Christians in the present Day possess less Joy than 

the Primitive Disciples, 1795 ..... 721 
The Discipline of the Primitive Churches Illustrated and 

Enforced, 1799 724 

The Practical Uses of Christian Baptism, 1802 . . 728 
The Pastor's Address to his Christian Hearers, entreating 

their Assistance in promoting the Interest of Christ, 1806 730 
On Moral and Positive Obedience, 1807 .... 733 
The Promise of the Spirit the grand Encouragement in 

promoting the Gospel, 1810 737 

The Situation of the Widows and Orphans of Christian 

Ministers, &c., 1815 ....... 738 



LETTERS ON SYSTEMATIC DIVINITY. 

LETT. 1. Importance of Systematic Divinity . . . 740 

2. Importance of a True System . . . ib. 

3. Plan Proposed to be Pursued .... 742 

4. On the Being of God 744 

5. On the Necessity of a Divine Revelation . 745 

6. On the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures . 746 

7. On the uniform bearing of the Scriptures on the 
Person and Work of Christ . . . 743 

8. On the Perfections of God . . . .749 

9. On the Doctrine of the Trinity . . 750 



THOUGHTS ON PREACHING. 

LETT. 1. On Expounding the Scriptures . . 752 

2. On Sermons, and the Subject-matter of them 753 

3. On the Composition of a Sermon . . . 755 

4. On the Composition of a Sermon . . 757 
On theAbuse of Allegory in Preaching . . 758 



MEMOIRS OF THE REV. SAMUEL PEARCE. 



Dedication 

Introduction ..... 

CHAP. 1. His parentage, conversion, call to the ministry, 
and settlement at Birmingham . 

2. Laborious exertions in promoting missions fo 
the heathen, and his offering himself as a mis 
sionary 

3. Exercises and labours from the time of his 
giving up the idea of going abroad to the com 
mencement of his last affliction .... 

4. Account of his last affliction, and the holy and 
happy exercises of his mind under it . 

5. General outlines of his character . 

Letters 

Concluding reflections . . . 
Specimen of devotional poetry 



760 
ib. 



764 
771 



787 
789 
793 
795 



AN APOLOGY FOR THE LATE CHRISTIAN 
MISSIONS TO INDIA, IN THREE PARTS 
WITH AN APPENDIX. 

PART I. 

SECT. 1. Address to Edw. Parry, esq., Chairman of the 

.hast India Company . 705 

^Strictures on the Preface of a Pamphlet entitled' 
Observations on the present State of the East 
India Company " .... 800 



CONTENTS. 



PART II. 

MM 

Introduction . . . "6 

SFCT. 1. Remarks on Major Scott Waring s Letter to the 

Hcv. Mr. Owen .807 

2. Remarks on " A Vindication of the Hindoos, by 

a Bengal Officer " 809 

PART III. 

Preface ...... ... 815 

SECT. 1. Strictures on Major Scott Waring's third 

pamphlet , 816 

2. Remarks on " A Letter to the President of the 
Board of Control on the Propagation of Chris- 
tianity in India" . . . . 822 

3. Remarks on the propriety of confining mission- 
ary undertakings to the Established Church . 823 

APPENDIX. 

Recent testimonies to the character of the missionaries . 825 
The principles of the petitioners to parliament for religious 
toleration in India : a letter to John Weyland, jun., 
esq., occasioned by his letter to Sir Hugh luglis, bart., 
on the state of religion in India . . . . .826 
Answer to an anonymous letter from " An Observer," on 
his objections to foreign missions 828 



ESSAYS, LETTERS, &c., ON ECCLESIASTICAL 
POLITY. 

An inquiry into the right of private judgment in matters 

of religion 829 

On creeds and subscriptions ..... ooU 

Thoughts' on the principles on which the apostles pro 
ceeded in forming and organizing Christian churches, 

&c 831 

A brief statement of the principles of dissent . . 834 
Vindication of protestant dissent, in reply to the Rev. 

Thomas Robinson, M.A 836 

On the presence of Judas at the Lord's supper . . 840 

On dissent 841 

State of dissenting discipline . ... 

Discipline of the English and Scottish Baptist churches . 843 
State of the Baptist churches in Northamptonshire . 844 

Decline of the dissenting interest 845 

Agreement in sentiment, the bond of Christian union . 847 

ON ORDINATION : 

Re-ordination and imposition of hands . . . 849 
Validity of lay ordination . . . 850 

Administering the Lord's supper without ordination . ib. 
Administering the Lord's supper without a minister ib. 
Counsel to a young minister in prospect of ordination 851 

. ib. 



On the apostolic office 

ON TERMS OF COMMUNION : 

Remarks on infant baptism and infant communion . 852 
Strictures on the Rev. John Carter's " Thoughts on 

Baptism and Mixed Communion" . . . 853 
Thoughts on open communion, in a letter to the Rev. 

W. Ward, missionary at Serampore . . . 854 
Strict communion in the church at Serampore . 855 
The admission of unbaptized persons to the Lord's 

supper inconsistent with the New Testament . ib. 

On instrumental music in Christian worship 
Thoughts on singing 



sol 



MISCELLANEOUS TRACTS, ESSAYS, LET 
TERS, &c. 

On Truth 86; 

The (jreat Question Answered 87t 

The Awakened Sinner ; or Letters between Archippus and 
Epaphras 87-i 

ON SPIRITUAL PRIDE, &c. : 

Introduction . . .... 881 



MM 

SECT. 1. Occasions or objecta of spiritual pride . . 881 

2. Causes of spiritual pride 885 

Remarks on two sermons by W . W. Horne of Yarmouth 867 
The moral law the rule of conduct to believers . . 890 
Strictures on sentiments of the Rev. Robert Uobinson . 892 
On spiritual declension and means of revival . . . 904 

THE BACKSLIDER, &c. : 

Introduction 912 

General nature and different species of backsliding 
Symptoms of a backsliding spirit . . .916 

Injurious and dangerous effects of sin lying upon the 
conscience unlamented . . .... 918 

Means of recovery 920 

Progressiveness of sin and of holiness .... 923 
Persuasives to a general union in prayer for the revival of 

religion 926 

THOUGHTS ON CIVIL POLITY : 

Attachment to government 928 

Reflections on the Epistle of Jude . . . 930 
Influence of the conduct of religious people on the 

well-being of a country ib. 

Political self-righteousness ib. 

The proper and improper use of terms . . . . 9v 
The immaculate life of Christ 935 

ON THE DEITY OF CHRIST : 

The Deity of Christ essential to the atonement . . 938 
The Deity of Christ essential to our calling on his 

name, and trusting in him for salvation . . . 939 
Defence of the Deity of Christ .... 940 

Remarks on the indwelling scheme & 

On the Sonship of Christ 913 

On the Trinity . 914 



JUSTIFICATION : 

On the doctrine of imputed righteousness .^ 
On imputation and original sin (from a MS.) 

To the afllicted 



. 945 
950 

. 951 



THE HEAVENLY GLORY : 

Nature and progressiveness of heavenly glory . . 953 
Degrees in glory proportioned to works of piety con 
sistent with salvation by grace alone . . . 960 



REVIEWS. 

The abuse of reviews 962 

Scott's" Warrant and Nature of Faith" . . 964 

Booth's " Glad Tidings," SEC. . ... 965 

Booth's Sermon the " Amen of Social Prayer" . 966 

Memoirs of the Rev. James Garie ib. 

Sevan's defence of the doctrine of the Friends . . 967 
Jerram's " Letters on the Atonement" . . . . ib. 
" The Voice of Years concerning the late W. Hunting- 
ton, S.S." 968 



ANSWERS TO QUERIES. 

The fall of Adam 971 

The accountability of man ">. 

Moral inability 972 

The love of God, and its extension to the non-elect . 9/3 

The prayer of the wicked 974 

Aspect of gospel promises to the wicked . . . ib. 

Power and influence of the gospel 975 

The nature of regeneration 976 

Faith not merely intellectual 978 

Faith required by the moral law jb. 

Christian love jb. 

Christian charity .... ... 

Character not determined by individual acts . . . 979 

Satan's temptations . ib. 

Obedience and suffering of Christ 91 

Jesus growing in wisdom and knowledge ib. 

Reading the Scriptures 981 

State of the mind in social and secret prayer . . ib. 

Nature of indwelling sin 982 

Preservation against backsliding ib. 

Ministerial call and qualifications 983 



xi r 



CONTENTS. 



FUGITIVE PIECES. 



Necessity of seeking important things first . . -984 

On party spirit 

On evil things which pass under specious names . . ib. 
Scriptural treatment of rich and poor Christians . . 
Dangerous tendency of the doctrine of universal salvation 987 
Mystery of Providence, especially towards different parts 

of the world in different ages . . . 988 
Connexions in which the doctrine of election is used in the 

Scriptures *; 

Remarks on the English translation of the Bible . . yy<J 
On commendation 991 



Funeral oration for the Rev. Robert Hall of Arnsby 
Lines to the memory of Mr. Hall .... 

Nature of true virtue 

Morality not founded in utility . . 

Sin its own punishment 

The vision of dry bones 

The satisfaction of Christ 

Credulity and disingenuity of unbelief . 
On the establishment of the Glasgow Missionary Society 
Importance of a lively faith, especially in missionary un 
dertakings 

Infinite evil of sin 

The leper 

The Christian sabbath . ... 

Picture of an Antinomian 



992 
993 

ib. 
991 

ib. 
997 
998 
999 
1000 

1001 
1002 

ib. 

ib. 
1003 



MEMOIRS 



THE REV. ANDREW FULLER. 



SECTION I. 1754 TO 1776. 

HIS BIRTH ANCESTRY NARRATIVE OF HIS EAR 
LY RELIGIOUS IMPRESSIONS, CONVERSION, THE 
OLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES, AND ENTRANCE ON 

THE PASTORAL CHARGE AT SOHAM GRADUAL 

CHANGE OF SENTIMENTS NARRATIVE OF THE 

PROGRESS OF HIS MIND ON JUSTIFICATION 

MARRIAGE. 

THE celebrity attained by the subject of the follow 
ing Memoir was in no degree attributable to adven 
titious aids of birth or education. Possessing no 
other advantages than were open to the son of any 
fanner in the middle of the last century, Mr. Fuller 
was indebted to no one, except for the barest rudi 
ments of English instruction, as many of his earlier 
manuscripts sufficiently evince. He was born Fe- 
oruary 6th, 1754, at Wicken, near Ely, Cambridge 
shire, for several centuries the residence of his pa 
ternal ancestors, some of whom, as well as those on 
f his mother's side, had been distinguished for piety 
and sufferings in the cause of Christ. In order to 
avoid the persecutions of the heartless and profligate 
Charles II., they were accustomed to meet in the 
woods of Cambridgeshire, with Holcroft and Oddy, 
two eminent ejected ministers, the former of whom 
been the medium of conversion to one of them.* 
His father, Robert Fuller, married Philippa, 
ughter of Andrew Gunton, by whom he had 
ree sons, Andrew being the youngest. The 
ers, Robert and John, followed the occupation of 
ieir ancestors, the former at Isleham, Cambridge- 
e, where he died in 1829; the latter at Little 
tley, Essex, where he still resides ; both having 
n for many years pious and respectable deacons 
Baptist churches. 
The account given by Mr. Fuller of his early re- 

* Palmer, in his Nonconformists' Memorial, informs us that 
these excellent men, who both suffered a long imprisonment in 

b 



ligious impressions affords an interesting exhibition 
of the mysterious operations of Divine grace in the 
midst of youthful depravity, while it also shows the 
gradual development of those traits of character 
which afterwards excited such admiration and 
esteem, and led to results of such importance to the 
religious world, and especially to his own immediate 
connexion. The system of doctrine which had at 
that time prevailed to a considerable extent was a 
caricature of Calvinism, exercising under some of 
its forms a peculiarly degrading and pernicious in 
fluence. From this he was the happy means of 
rescuing many of the churches, and of leading them 
to recognise the perfect consistency of the most ele 
vated views of the sovereignty of Divine grace with 
the most extensive obligations of men to moral and 
spiritual duties, and the most unlimited invitations 
to unconverted hearers of the gospel. 

The following extracts comprise the substance of 
two series of letters, which, being written to friends 
at different periods, and consequently containing in 
many cases a repetition of the same incidents, it is 
judged most expedient to reduce to a uniform and 
continuous narrative, preserving at the same time a 
scrupulous adherence to the words of the writer. 

" You need not be told, my dear friend, that the 
religious experience of fallible creatures, like every 
thing else that attends them, must needs be marked 
with imperfection, and that the account that can be 
given of it on paper, after a lapse of many years, 
must be so in a still greater degree. I am willing, 
however, to comply with your request ; and the ra 
ther because it may serve to recall some things 
which, in passing over the mind, produce interesting 
and useful sensations, both of pain and pleasure. 

" My father and mother were Dissenters, of the 
Calvinistic persuasion, and were in the habit of 

Cambridge castle, were the founders of nearly all the congre 
gational churches in that county. 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



hearing Mr. Eve, a Baptist minister, who being 
what is here termed high in his sentiments, or tinged 
with false Calvinism, had little or nothing to say to 
the unconverted. I therefore never considered my 
self as any way concerned in what I heard from the 
pulpit. Nevertheless, by reading and reflection I 
was sometimes strongly impressed in a way of con 
viction. My parents were engaged in husbandry, 
which occupation, therefore, I followed to the twen 
tieth year of my age. I remember many of the 
sins of my childhood, among which were lying, 
cursing, and swearing. It is true, as to the latter, 
it never became habitual. I had a dread upon my 
spirits to such a degree, that when I uttered an oath 
or an imprecation, it was by a kind of force put 
upon my feelings, and merely to appear manly, 
like other boys with whom I associated. This being 
the case, when I came to be about ten years old, I 
entirely left it off, except that I sometimes dealt in 
a sort of minced oaths and imprecations when my 
passions were excited. 

" In the practice of telling lies I continued some 
years longer ; at length, however, I began to con 
sider this as a mean vice, and accordingly left it off, 
except in cases where I was under some pressing 
temptation. 

" I think I must have been nearly fourteen years 
old before I began to have much serious thought 
about futurity. The preaching upon which I at 
tended was not adapted to awaken my conscience, 
as the minister had seldom any thing to say except 
to believers, and what believing was I neither knew, 
nor was I greatly concerned to know. I remember 
about this time, as I was walking alone, I put the 
question to myself, What is faith ? there is much 
made of it, What is it ? I could not tell, but satis 
fied myself in thinking it was not of immediate 
concern, and I should understand it as I grew older. 

" At times conviction laid fast hold of me, and 
rendered me extremely unhappy. The light I had 
received, I know not how, would not suffer me to 
go into sin with that ease which I observed in other 
lads. One winter evening, I remember going with 
a number of other boys to a smith's shop, to warm 
myself by his fire. Presently they began to sing vain 
songs. This appeared to me so much like revel 
ling, that I felt something within me which would 
not suffer me to join them, and while I sat silently, 
in rather an unpleasant muse, those words sunk into 
my mind like a dagger, ' What doest thou here, 
Elijah ? ' I immediately left the company ; yet, 
shocking to reflect upon, I walked home, murmur 
ing in my heart against God, that I could not be let 
alone, and be suffered to take my pleasure like 
other young people ! 



" Sometimes I was very much affected, in think 
ing of the doctrines of Christianity, or in reading- 
such books as Bunyan's Grace abounding to the 
Chief of Sinners, and his Pilgrim's Progress. 
One day, in particular, I took up Ralph Erskine's 
Gospel Sonnets, and opening upon what he entitles 
*4 Gospel Catechism for young Christians, or 
Christ All in All in our Complete Redemption, 
I read, and as I read I wept. Indeed I was almost 
overcome with weeping, so interesting did the doc 
trine of eternal salvation appear to me ; yet, there 
being no radical change in my heart, these thoughts 
passed away, and I was equally intent on the pur 
suit of folly as heretofore. 

" Yet I often felt a strange kind of regard to 
wards good people, such of them especially as were 
familiar in their behaviour to young persons, and 
would sometimes talk to me about religion. I 
used to wish I had many thousand pounds, that I 
might give some of it to those of them who were 
poor as to their worldly circumstances. 

" I was at times the subject of such convictions 
and affections that I really thought myself converted, 
and lived under that delusion for a long time. The 
ground on which I rested that opinion was as fol 
lows: One morning, I think about the year 1767, 
as I was walking alone, I began to think seriously 
what would become of my poor soul, and was deeply 
affected in thinking of my condition. I felt that I 
was the slave of sin, and that it had such power 
over me that it was in vain for me to think of extri 
cating myself from its thraldom. Till now, I did 
not know but that I could repent at any time ; but 
now I perceived that my heart was wicked, and 
that it was not in me to turn to God, or to break off 
my sins by righteousness. I saw that if God would 
forgive me all the past, and offer me the kingdom 
of heaven on condition of giving up my wicked pur 
suits, I should not accept it. This conviction was 
accompanied with great depression of heart. I 
walked sorrowfully along, repeating these words : 
Iniquity will be my ruin ! Iniquity will be my 
ruin ! While poring over my unhappy case, those 
words of the apostle suddenly occurred to my mind, 
' Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are 
not under the law, but under grace.' Now the 
suggestion of a text of Scripture to the mind, espe 
cially if it came with power, was generally con 
sidered, by the religious people with whom I 
occasionally associated, as a promise coming imme 
diately from God. I therefore so understood it, and 
thought that God had thus revealed to me that I 
was in a state of salvation, and therefore that iniquity 
should not, as I had feared, be my ruin. The effect 
was, I was overcome with joy and transport. I 






HIS EARLY RELIGIOUS IMPRESSION >. 



X\ll 



shed, I suppose, thousands of tears as I walked 
along, and seemed to feel myself as it were in a 
new world. It appeared to me that I hated my 
sins, and was resolved to forsake them. Thinking 
on my wicked courses, I remember using those 
words of Paul, ' Shall I continue in sin, that grace 
may abound ? God forbid ! ' I felt, or seemed to 
feel, the strongest indignation at the thought. But, 
strange as it may appear, though my face that morn 
ing was, I believe, swollen with weeping, yet before 
niu'ht all was gone and forgotten, and I returned to 
my former vices with as eager a gust as ever. Nor 
do I remember that for more than half a year after 
wards I had any serious thoughts about the salva 
tion of my soul. I lived entirely without prayer, 
and was wedded to my sins just the same as before, 
or rather was increasingly attached to them. 

" Some time in the following year I was again 
walking by myself, and began to reflect upon my 
course of life, particularly upon my former hopes 
and affections, and how I had since forgotten them 
all, and returned to all my wicked ways. Instead 
of sin having no more dominion over me, I per 
ceived that its dominion had been increased. Yet 
I still thought that must have been a promise from 
God to me, and that I must have been a converted 
person, but in a backsliding state ; and this per 
suasion was confirmed by another sudden impres 
sion, which dispelled my dejection, in these words : 
' I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgres 
sions, and as a cloud thy sins.' This, like the 
former, overcame my mind with joy. I wept much 
at the thoughts of having backslidden so long, but 
yet considered myself now as restored and happy. 
But this also was mere transient affection. I have 
great reason to think that the great deep of my 
heart's depravity had not yet been broken up, and 
that all my religion was without any abiding prin 
ciple. Amidst it all, I still continued in the neg 
lect of prayer, and was never, that I recollect, in 
duced to deny myself of any sin when temptations 
presented. I now thought, however, surely I 
shall be better for the time to come. But, alas ! in 
a few days this also was forgotten, and I returned 
to my evil courses with as great an eagerness as 
ever. 

" I was now about fifteen years of age ; and as, 
notwithstanding my convictions and hopes, the bias 
of my heart was not changed, I became more and 
more addicted to evil, in proportion as my powers 
and passions strengthened. Nor was I merely 
prompted by my own propensities ; for having 
formed acquaintance with other wicked young peo 
ple, my progress in the way to death became great 
ly accelerated. Being of an athletic frame and of 
b2 



a daring spirit, I was often engaged in such exer 
cises and exploits as, if the good hand of God had 
not preserved me, might have issued in death. I 
also frequently engaged in games of hazard, which, 
though not to any great amount, yet were very be 
witching to me, and tended greatly to corrupt my 
mind. These, with various other sinful practices, 
had so hardened my heart, that I seldom thought of 
religion. Nay, I recollect that on a Lord's-day 
evening about that time, when my parents were 
reading in the family, I was shamefully engaged 
with one of the servants, playing idle tricks, though 
I took care not to be seen in them. These things 
were nothing to me at that time ; for my conscience, 
by reiterated acts of wickedness, had become seared 
as with a hot iron : they were, however, heavy bur 
dens to me afterwards. 

" Notwithstanding various convictions and tran 
sient affections, I was pressing on in a lamentable 
career of wickedness ; but about the autumn of 1769 
my convictions revisited me, and brought on such a 
concern about my everlasting welfare as issued, I 
trust, in real conversion. 

" It was my common practice, after the business 
of the day was over, to get into bad company in the 
evening, and when there I indulged in sin without 
restraint. But after persisting in this course for 
some time, I began to be very uneasy, particularly 
in a morning when I first awoke. It was almost as 
common for me to be seized with keen remorse at 
this hour as it was to go into vain company in the 
evening. At first I began to make votrs of reform 
ation, and this for the moment would afford a little 
ease ; but as the temptations returned, my vows 
were of no account. It was an enlightened con 
science only that was on the side of God : my heart 
was still averse to every thing that was spiritual or 
holy. For several weeks I went on in this way ; 
vowing and breaking my vows, reflecting on myself 
for my evil conduct, and yet continually repeat 
ing it. 

" It was not now, however, as heretofore ; my 
convictions followed me up closely. I could not, 
as formerly, forget these things, and was therefore 
a poor miserable creature ; like a drunkard, who 
carouses in the evening, but mopes about the next 
day like one half dead. 

" One morning, I think in November, 1769, I 
walked out by myself with an unusual load of guilt 
upon my conscience. The remembrance of my sin, 
not only on the past evening, but for a long time 
back, the breach of my vows and the shocking 
termination of my former hopes and affections, all 
uniting together, formed a burden which I knew 
not how to bear. The reproaches of a guilty con- 



XV111 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



science seemed like the gnawing worm of hell. I 
thought surely that must be an earnest of hell itself. 
The fire and brimstone of the bottomless pit seemed 
to burn within my bosom. I do not write in the 
language of exaggeration. I now know that the 
sense which I then had of the evil of sin and the 
wrath of God was very far short of the truth ; but 
yet it seemed more than I was able to sustain. In 
reflecting upon my broken vows, I saw that there 
was no truth in me. I saw that God would be per 
fectly just in sending me to hell, and that to hell I 
must go unless I were saved of mere grace, and, as 
it were, in spite of myself. I felt that, if God were 
to forgive me all my past sins, I should again de 
stroy my soul, and that in less than a day's time. I 
never before knew what it was to feel myself an 
odious lost sinner, standing in need of both pardon 
and purification. Yet, though I needed those bless 
ings, it seemed presumption to hope for them, after 
what I had done. I was absolutely helpless, and 
seemed to have nothing about me that ought to ex 
cite the pity of God, or that I could reasonably ex 
pect should do so ; but every thing disgusting to 
him, and provoking to the eyes of his glory. ' What 
have I done ? what must I do ? ' These were my 
inquiries, perhaps ten times over. Indeed I knew 
not what to do ! I durst not promise amendment, 
for I saw that such promises were self-deception. 
To hope for forgiveness in the course that I was in 
was the height of presumption-; and to think of 
Christ, after having so basely abused his grace, 
seemed too much. So I had no refuge. At one 
moment I thought of giving myself up to despair. 
' I may (said I within myself) even return and take 
my fill of sin ; I can but be lost.' This thought 
made me shudder at myself! My heart revolted. 
What, thought I, give up Christ, and hope, and 
heaven ! Those lines of Ralph Erskine's then oc 
curred to my mind 

4 But say, if all the gusts 
And grains of love be spent, 

Say, farewell Christ, and welcome lusts- 
Stop, stop ; I melt, I faint.' 

I could not bear the thought of plunging myself into 
endless ruin. 

" It is difficult at this distance of time to recollect 
with precision the minute workings of my mind ; 
but as near as I can remember I was like a man 
drowning, looking every way for help, or rather 
catching for something by which he might save his 
I tried to find whether there were any hope 
in the Divine mercy any in the Saviour of sinners ; 
but felt repulsed by the thought of mercy having 
been so basely abused already. In this state of 
mind, as I was moving slowly on, I thought of the 



resolution of Job, ' Though he slay me, yet will I 
trust in him.' I paused, and repeated the words 
over and over. Each repetition seemed to kindle a 
ray of hope mixed with a determination, if I might, 
to cast my perishing soul upon the Lord Jesus Christ 
for salvation, to be both pardoned and purified ; for 
I felt that I needed the one as much as the other. 

" I was not then aware that any poor sinner had 
a warrant to believe in Christ for the salvation of 
his soul, but supposed there must be some kind of 
qualification to entitle him to do it ; yet I was aware 
I had no qualification. On a review of my resolu 
tion at that time, it seems to resemble that of Esther, 
who went into the king's presence contrary to the 
lam, and at the hazard of her life. Like her, I 
seemed reduced to extremities, impelled by dire ne 
cessity to run all hazards, even though I should 
perish in the attempt. Yet it was not altogether 
from a dread of wrath that I fled to this refuge ; for 
I well remember that I felt something attracting in 
the Saviour. I must I will yes, I will trust my 
soul my sinful lost soul in his hands. If I perish, 
I perish. However it was, I was determined to 
cast myself upon Christ, thinking peradventure he 
would save my soul ; and, if not, I could but be 
lost. In this way I continued above an hour, weep 
ing and supplicating mercy for the Saviour's sake 
(my soul hath it still in remembrance, and is hum 
bled in me) ; and as the eye of the mind was more 
and more fixed upon him, my guilt and fears were 
gradually and insensibly removed. 

" I now found rest for my troubled soul ; and I 
reckon that I should have found it sooner, if I had 
not entertained the notion of my having no warrant 
to come to Christ without some previous qualifica 
tion. This notion was a bar that kept me back for 
a time, though through Divine drawings I was en 
abled to overleap it. As near as I can remember 
in the early part of these exercises, when I sub 
scribed to the justice of God in my condemnation, 
and thought of the Saviour of sinners, I had then 
relinquished every false confidence, believed my help 
to be only in him, and approved of salvation by grace 
alone through his death ; and if at that time I had 
known that any poor sinner might warrantably have 
trusted in him for salvation, I conceive I should 
have done so, and have found rest to my soul sooner 
than I did. I mention this because it may be the 
case with others, who may be kept in darkness and 
despondency by erroneous views of the gospel much 
longer than I was. 

" I think also I did repent of my sin in the early 
part of these exercises, and before I thought that 
Christ would accept and save my soul. I conceive 
that justifying God in my condemnation, and ap- 



HIS CONVERSION. 



xix 



proving the way of salvation by Jusus Christ, ne 
cessarily included it ; but yet I did not think at the 
time that this was repentance, or any thing truly good. 
Indeed I thought nothing about the exercises of my 
own mind, but merely of my guilty and lost con 
dition, and whether there were any hope of escape 
for me. But, having found rest for my soul in the 
cross of Christ, I was now conscious of my being 
the subject of repentance, faith, and love. When 
I thought of my past life, I abhorred myself, and 
repented as in dust and ashes ; and when I thought 
of the gospel way of salvation, I drank it in, as 
cold water is imbibed by a thirsty soul. My heart 
felt one with Christ, and dead to every other object 
around me. I had thought I had found the joys of 
salvation heretofore ; but now I knew I had found 
them, and was conscious that I had passed from 
death unto life. Yet even now my mind was not 
so engaged in reflecting upon my own feelings as 
upon the objects which occasioned them. 

" From this time, my former wicked courses were 
forsaken. I had no manner of desire after them. 
They lost their influence upon me. To those evils, 
a glance at which before would have set my pas 
sions in a flame, I now felt no inclination. My 
soul, said I, with joy and triumph, is as a weaned 
child ! I now knew experimentally what it was to 
be dead to the world by the cross of Christ, and to 
feel an habitual determination to devote my future 
life to God my Saviour, and from this time con- 
sid<-red the vows of God as upon me. 

" In recollecting the early exercises of my mind, 
I see a great difference between respect and lore. 
1 never knew the time when I did not respect good 
men ; but I did not always love them for Christ's 
sake. There was one poor man in particular, who 
used to travel about three miles on a Lord's-day 
morning to worship, and as I often attended at 
the same place, I was frequently very eager to get 
his company. I have run miles to overtake him, 
though when I was with him I had nothing to say. 
In the autumn of this year he became my father's 
thrasher, and I was delighted on account of it, 
though I scarcely knew for what reason. My mind 
\\ ;i> now at rest in Christ ; yet I had never spoken 
to any one on the subject, nor did I think of doing 
so for the present. But whether the thrasher per 
ceived some alteration in me as I went about my 
business, or how it was, I know not, he talked to 
me rather freely, and I told him all my heart. After 
this, other Christians conversed with me, and in 
vited me to their prayer-meetings, and I engaged 
with them in prayer, and other religious exercises. 
It was in this accidental way, and not from my own 
intention, that I became known among serious 



people. But, having opened my mind to the 
thrasher, I often visited him in the bain ; and, be 
cause I hindered him in his work, I made it up by 
thrashing for him sometimes for an hour or two to 
gether. 

"From the month of November, 1769, I had 
entirely broken off all my ungodly connexions and 
courses ; yet, being a boy under sixteen, I found at 
times boyish inclinations and strong struggles of 
mind respecting youthful follies. At Shrove-tide, 
in particular, when the young men met together, 
and practised various athletic exercises, their shouts, 
which were within my hearing, would throw me 
into agitations which rendered me very unhappy. 
But my good friend, the thrasher, warned me ten 
derly and solemnly to keep out of the way of tempt 
ation, and I was enabled, though with some diffi 
culty, to follow his counsel. As the spring of 
1770 came on, the young people of the town, as 
usual, would meet every evening for youthful exer 
cises. This was especially the case at the wake or 
feast ; and though I always kept at a distance, yet 
I found such times very insnaring to my mind. 
To avoid this, I began a practice which I continued 
with great peace and comfort for several years. 
Whenever a feast or holiday occurred, instead of 
sitting at home by myself, I went to a neighbouring 
village to visit some Christian friends, and returned 
when all was over. By this step I was delivered 
from those mental participations in folly which had 
given me so much uneasiness. Thus the seasons 
of temptation became to me times of refreshing 
from the presence of the Lord. 

"In March, 1770, I witnessed the baptizing of 
two young persons, having never seen that ordinance 
administered before, and was considerably affected 
by what I saw and heard. The solemn immersion 
of a person, on a profession of faith in Christ, car 
ried such a conviction with it that I wept like a 
child on the occasion. The words of the psalmist, 
in Psal. cxi. 10, ' A good understanding have all 
they that do his commandments,' left a deep and 
abiding impression on my mind. I was fully per 
suaded that this was the primitive way of baptizing, 
and that every Christian was bound to attend to 
this institution of our blessed Lord. About a month 
after this I was baptized myself, and joined the 
church at Soham, being then turned of sixteen 
years of age. 

" Within a day or two after I had been baptized, 
as I was riding through the fields, I met a company 
of young men. One of them especially, on my 
having passed them, called after me in very abusive 
language, and cursed me for having been ' dipped.' 
My heart instantly rose in a way of resentment ; 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



but though the fire burned, I held my peace ; for 
before I uttered a word I was checked with this 
passage, which occurred to ray mind, ' In the world 
ye shall have tribulation.' I wept, and entreated 
the Lord to pardon me ; feeling quite willing to 
bear the ridicule of the wicked, and to go even 
through great tribulation, if at last I might but 
enter the kingdom. In this tender frame of mind 
I rode some miles, thinking of the temptations I 
might have to encounter. Amongst others, I was 
aware of the danger of being drawn into any ac 
quaintance with the other sex, which might prove 
injurious to my spiritual welfare. While poring 
over these things, and fearful of falling into the 
snares of youth, I was led to think of that passage, 
' In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall di 
rect thy paths.' This made me weep for joy; and 
for forty-five years I have scarcely entered on any 
serious engagement without thinking of these words, 
and entreating Divine direction. I have been twice 
married, and twice settled as the pastor of a church ; 
which were some of the leading ways in which I 
had to acknowledge the Lord ; and in each, when 
over, I could say, as Psal. cxix. 26, ' My ways 
have I declared, and thou heardest me.' 

" In reviewing the early years of my life, I see 
much ignorance, vanity, and folly. I feel the force 
of Paul's considering the terms carnal, and babes 
in Christ, as synonymous. But, amidst all my 
youthful follies and sins, I bless God that I was al 
ways kept from any unbecoming freedom with the 
other sex, or attempting to engage the affections of 
any female, except with a view to marriage. 

" The summer of 1770 was a time of great reli 
gious pleasure. I loved my pastor, and all my bre 
thren in the church ; and they expressed great af 
fection towards me in return. I esteemed the 
righteous as the excellent of the earth, in whom 
was all my delight. Those who knew not Christ 
seemed tome almost another species, towards whom 
I was incapable of attachment. About this time I 
formed an intimacy with a Mr. Joseph Diver, a 
wise and good man, who had been baptized with me. 
He was about forty years of age, and had lived 
many years in a very recluse way, giving himself 
much to reading and reflection. He had a great 
delight in searching after truth, which rendered his 
conversation peculiarly interesting to me ; nor was 
he less devoted to universal practical godliness. I 
account this connexion one of the greatest blessings 
in my life. Notwithstanding the disparity as to 
years, we loved each other like David and Jonathan. 
My life this summer resembled the description 
given by Dr. Watts : 



' The day glides swiftly o'er (heir heads, 
Made up of innocence and love ; 
And soft and silent as the shades 
Their nightly minutes gently move.' 

But in the autumn of the same year an unhappy 
affair occurred in the church, which occasioned a 
breach between our pastor, Mr. Eve, and the people, 
which terminated in his leaving them ; and, what 
rendered it the more afflicting to me, I was much 
concerned in it. The case was this : one of the 
members having been guilty of drinking to excess, 
I was one of the first who knew of it. I immediately 
went and talked to him, as well as I could, on the 
evil of his conduct. His answer was, ' He could 
not keep himself; and that, though I bore so hard 
on him, I was not my own keeper.' At this I felt 
indignant, considering it as a base excuse. I there 
fore told him that he could keep himself from such 
sins as these, and that his way of talking was merely 
to excuse what was inexcusable. I knew not what 
else to say at that time ; yet the idea of arrogating 
to be my own keeper seemed too much. He, how 
ever, was offended, and told me that I was young, 
and did not know the deceitfulness of my own heart. 
Well, I went and told my pastor, who highly com 
mended me, and said, ' We certainly could keep 
ourselves from open sins. We had no power,' he 
observed, ' to do things spiritually good ; but as to 
outward acts, we had power both to obey the will of 
God and to disobey it.' 

" The business soon came before the church, and 
the offender was unanimously excluded : the excuse 
which he had made, too, was considered by all, I 
believe, as an aggravation of his offence. But, this 
affair being disposed of, the abstract question of the 
power of sinful men to do the will of God, and 
to keep themselves from sin, was taken up by 
some of the leading members of the church, amongst 
whom was my friend Joseph Diver. They readily 
excused me, as being a babe in religion ; but thought 
the pastor ought to have known better, and to have 
been able to answer the offender without betraying 
the truth. They alleged that the greatest and best 
of characters, as recorded in Scripture, never arro 
gated to themselves the power of keeping themselves 
from evil, but constantly prayed for keeping grace ; 
that, were it not for the restraining goodness and 
constraining grace of God, earth would be a hell, 
and the best of men incarnate devils ; in short, that 
though we are altogether blameworthy for our evil 
propensities, yet, if they were restrained or conquered, 
it was altogether to be ascribed to God, and not to 
us. To support these ideas, they alleged the pray 
ers of the faithful to be kept from evil, even from 
presumptuous sins, Psal. xix. 13; the declaration 



THEOLOGICAL DISPUTES IN THE CHURCH AT SOHAM. 



XXI 



of the prophet, that ' the way of man is not in him 
self : it is not in him that walketh to direct his 
steps,' Jt-r. x. 23 ; the case of Hezekiah, whom the 
Lord left, that he might try him, that he might 
know all that was in his heart, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31 ; 
and the acknowledgments of such men as John 
Bradford the martyr, who, on seeing a man go to be 
publicly executed, said, ' There goes John Bradford 
by nature.' 

" On the other hand, the pastor distinguished be 
tween internal and external power. He allowed 
that men had no power of themselves to perform any 
thing spiritually good ; but contended that they 
could yield external obedience, and keep themselves 
from open acts of sin. In proof of this he alleged 
a great number of Scripture exhortations ; asking, 
If we had no power to comply with them, why were 
they q-iven us ? The opponents did not deny our 
being exhorted to do good and to avoid evil, nor that 
it was our duty to do both and our sin to act other 
wise ; but they denied that this implied our being 
sufficient of ourselves to do any thing, even to think 
* good thought. 

" In these disputes I continued for some time on 
the side of my pastor ; but after a few months I felt 
difficulties on the subject which I could not answer, 
and which rendered me unhappy. I perceived that 
some kind of power was necessary to render us ac 
countable beings. If we were like stocks or stones, 
or literally dead, like men in a burying ground, we 
could with no more propriety than they be com 
manded to perform any duty ; if we were mere 
machines, there could be no sin chargeable upon us. 
Yet, on the other hand, the Scriptures expressly 
affirm that ' the way of man is not in himself,' and 
represent the godly as crying to Heaven for pre 
servation from evil, ascribing all the good that was 
in them to Him who worketh in us to will and to 
do of his own good pleasure. I prayed much, and 
laboured hard to solve this difficulty. 

My worthy friend Joseph Diver, who sustained 
a high character for wisdom and integrity, would 
reason thus with me : ' We ought to hate evil, 
and love the Lord ; but it is the grace of God alone 
that can make us what we ought to be.' He would 
often speak of the equity of the Divine requirements 
in the words of David, ' I esteem all thy precepts in 
all things to be right ; and I hate every false way.' 
And again, ' Thou hast commanded us that we 
should keep thy precepts diligently : O that my 
ways were directed to keep thy statutes ! ' ' Thus 
it is.' said he, ' that we should turn every precept 
into a prayer, instead of inferring from it a suffi 
ciency in ourselves to conform to it. All our con 
formity to the Divine precepts is of grace ; it will 



never do to argue from our obligations against our 
dependence, nor from our dependence on grace 
against our obligations to duty. If it were not for 
the restraining goodness and preserving grace of 
God, we should be a kind of devils, and earth would 
resemble hell.' 

" In October, 1771, our pastor, Mr. Eve, left us. 
I loved him, and he loved me, and took it hard that 
I had in some respects changed my views. I learned 
afterwards that he had entertained thoughts of me 
as being formed for the ministry, but this contention 
damped his hopes on that subject. He settled, when 
he left Soham, with a people at Wisbeach. I never 
look back upon these contentions but with strong 
feelings. They were to me the wormwood and the 
gall of my youth ; my soul hath them still in re 
membrance, and is humbled in me. But though, 
during these unpleasant disputes, there were many 
hard thoughts and hard words on almost all hands, 
yet they were ultimately the means of leading my 
mind into those views of Divine truth which have 
since appeared in the principal part of my writings. 
They excited me to read, and think, and pray, with 
more earnestness than I should have done without 
them ; and, if I have judged or written to any ad 
vantage since, it was in consequence of what I then 
learned by bitter experience, and in the midst of 
many tears and temptations. God's way is in the 
deep. 

" About this time I met with a passage in Dr. 
Gill, (I think it was in his Cause of God and 
Truth,} in which he distinguished between a thing 
being ' in the power of our hand, and in the power 
of our heart.' This, thought I, is the clue to our 
dispute. Every man has it in the power of his hand 
to do good and abstain from evil ; and this it is 
which makes us accountable beings. We can do, 
or forbear to do, this and that, if we have a mind , 
but many have not a mind, and none would have 
such a mind but for the restraining goodness or con 
straining grace of God. We have it in the power 
of our hands to do good, but we are disposed to do 
evil, and so to do good is not naturally in the power 
of our hearts. 

" It was some time after this that I became ac 
quainted with Mr. Robert Hall of Arnsby, who, in 
conversation on the subject, recommended Edwards 
on tltf inil. On reading this work, and some 
other pieces on physical and moral impotence, I 
saw the same things clearly stated, in other words, 
which I had learned by bitter experience. 

" Mr. Eve having removed, and the church being 
divided into parties, it was thought by some that 
we should be dissolved ; and I went several Lord's 
days to hear an Independent minister in the neigh- 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



bourhood. Those members, however, who were of 
one mind, and who formed the majority, met to 
gether on Lord's days ; and having no minister, and 
being situated too far from other Baptist churches 
to get supplies, they carried on the worship by 
singing, prayer, reading, and expounding the Scrip 
tures. They also appointed a day for fasting and 
prayer, and invited all the members to unite in it. 
I went to this meeting, and from that time con 
tinued to assemble with them. My friend Joseph 
Diver was at that time chosen to be a deacon ; and, 
having some talent for expounding the Scriptures, 
he used, at the request of the church, to take up a 
part of every Lord's day in that exercise. 

" As the disputes in the church were the occasion 
of turning my thoughts to most of those subjects on 
which I have since written, so were they the occa 
sion of my engaging in the Christian ministry. 

"In November, 1771, as I was riding out on 
business, on a Saturday morning, to a neighbouring 
village, my mind fell into a train of interesting and 
affecting thoughts, from that passage of Scripture, 
' Weeping may endure for a night ; but joy cometh 
in the morning.' I never had felt such freedom of 
mind in thinking on a Divine subject before ; nor do 
I recollect ever having had a thought of the ministry ; 
but I then felt as if I could preach from it, and in 
deed I did preach in a manner as I rode along. I 
thought no more of it, however, but returned home 
when I had done my business. In the afternoon of 
the same day, I went to meet my mother, who had 
been to London, to see her mother, who was then 
very unwell. As we rode a few miles together, she 
told me she had been thinking much about me while 
in town, and added, ' My dear, you have often ex 
pressed your wish for a trade : I have talked with 
your uncle at Kensington about it, and he has pro 
cured a good place in the city, where, instead of 
paying a premium, you may, if you give satisfaction, 
in a little time receive wages, and learn the business. 
I thought (continued she) that as we had now lost 
the gospel, and perhaps shall never have it again, 
you could have no reason for wishing to continue 
here. In London you can hear the gospel in its 
purity.' That which my mother suggested was 
very true ; I had always been inclined to trade ; 
but, how it was I cannot tell, my heart revolted at 
the proposal at this time. It was not from any de 
sire or thought of the ministry, nor any thing else 
in particular, unless it were a feeling towards the 
little scattered society of which I was a member, a 
kind of lingering to see what would become of the 
city. I said but little to my mother, but seemed to 
wish for time to consider of it. This was Saturday 
evening. 



" The next morning, as I was walking by myself 
to meeting, expecting to hear the brethren pray, and 
my friend Joseph Diver expound the Scriptures, I 
was met by one of the members whom he had re 
quested to see me, who said, ' Brother Diver has by 
accident sprained his ancle, and cannot be at meet 
ing to-day ; and he wishes me to say to you, that he 
hopes the Lord will be with you.' ' The Lord be 
with me ! ' thought I, ' what does brother Diver 
mean ? He cannot suppose that I can take his 
place, seeing I have never attempted any thing of 
the kind, nor been asked to do so.' It then occurred, 
however, that I had had an interesting train of 
thought the day before, and had imagined at the 
time I could speak it, if I were called to it. But 
though I had repeatedly engaged in prayer publicly, 
yet I had never been requested to attempt any thing 
further, and therefore I thought no more of it. 

" We walked on to the meeting, and took our 
places, when, after singing, one of the brethren went 
to prayer. After which the eldest deacon asked me 
if I would read some part of the Scriptures, and, if 
I found liberty, drop any remarks as I went on, 
which might occur. At first I was startled, but, 
conscious of what had passed in my mind the day 
before, I thought as brother Diver was absent it 
might be my duty to try, and therefore making no 
objections, which as it appeared to me would have 
been mere affectation, I rose and spoke from Psal. 
xxx. 5 for about half an hour, with considerable 
freedom. After this I was again invited by brother 
Diver to speak, and I did so ; but, not enjoying that 
liberty which I did the first time, I was discouraged, 
and, though frequently asked, declined all such 
exercises for more than a year. But early in 1773, 
I think it was, brother Diver was absent again 
through an affliction, and I was invited once more 
to take his place. Being induced to renew the at 
tempt, I spoke from those words of our Lord, ' The 
Son of man came to seek and save that which is 
lost.' On this occasion, I not only felt greater free 
dom than I had ever found before, but the attention 
of the people was fixed, and several young persons 
in the congregation were impressed with the subject, 
and afterwards joined the church. 

" From this time the brethren seemed to entertain 
an idea of my engaging in the ministry, nor was I 
without serious thoughts of it myself. Sometimes 
I felt a desire after it ; at other times I was much 
discouraged, especially through a consciousness of 
my want of spirituality of mind, which I considered 
as a qualification of the first importance. As to 
other qualifications, it certainly would have been of 
great use to me, if for a few years I had had the in 
structions of some father in the ministry ; and I have 



HIS ENTl;\V I. ON THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY. 



xxin 



often since regretted that, from 1771 to 1774, I lived 
to so little purpose. But none of my connexions 
had any idea of the kind, and, being conscious of 
knowing about as much as those around me, I my 
self thought nothing of it. At one time, when se 
riously reflecting on my own defects and insuffi 
ciency, I was greatly relieved and encouraged by 
that passage, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11, ' The Lord will give 
i/rnce and glory.' It was now usual for my friend 
Diver to speak on one part of the Lord's day, and for 
me to be engaged on the other ; and these exercises 
appeared to be blessed to several young people, who 
afterwards joined the church. 

" In January, 1774, an elderly lady, a member 
of the church, died, and left a request that, if the 
church did not think it disorderly, I might be allow 
ed to preach a funeral sermon on the occasion. As 
the members were nearly of one mind respecting 
me, they agreed to set apart the twenty-sixth of that 
month, which was previous to the funeral, for fast 
ing and prayer ; and they then called me to the 
ministry. From that time I exercised from the 
pal pit. 

" Being now devoted to the ministry, I took a 
review of the doctrine I should preach, and spent 
pretty much of my time in reading, and in making up 
my mind as to various things relative to the gospel. 
Impressed with the importance of the connexions I 
should probably form in a few years, both as a man 
and as a minister, to my future happiness and useful 
ness, I earnestly besought the Lord to be my guide ; 
and those words in Prov. iii. 6 were very sweet to 
me, ' In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall 
direct thy paths.' In most of the important turns 
of my life, I have thought of that passage with re 
newed tenderness, as one would think of a friendly 
hint given him in early life, and make it a rule of 
conduct. 

" Settling in a town where I had lived from the 
age of six years, I could not expect to be much 
respected by the inhabitants. In this, however, I 
had no occasion to complain. I had, indeed, more 
respect shown me than I looked for ; partly owing 
to the prevalence of an opinion when I was at school 
of my being more learned than my master; an 
opinion which I am certain was far from being true. 
But it indicated a partiality in my favour, which 
perhaps was of some use in leading people to hear 
tlit- \vord. 

" With respect to the system of doctrine which I 
had been used to hear from my youth, it was in the 
high Calvinistic, or rather hyper Calvinistic, strain, 
admitting nothing spiritually good to be the duty of 
the unregenerate, and nothing to be addressed to 
them in a way of exhortation, excepting what re 



lated to external obedience. Outward services 
might be required, such as an attendance on the 
means of grace ; and abstinence from gross evils 
might be enforced ; but nothing was said to them 
from the pulpit in the way of warning them to flee 
from the wrath to come, or inviting them to apply 
to Christ for salvation. And though our late dis 
putes had furnished me with some few principles 
inconsistent with these notions, yet I did not per 
ceive their bearings at first, and durst not for some 
years address an invitation to the unconverted to 
come to Jesus. I began, however, to doubt whether 
I had got the truth respecting this subject. This 
view of tilings did not seem to comport with the ideas 
which I had imbibed concerning the power of man 
to do the will of God. I perceived that the will of 
God was not confined to mere outward actions, but 
extended to the inmost thoughts and intents of the 
heart. The distinction of duties, therefore, into in 
ternal and external, and making the latter only con 
cern the unregenerate, wore a suspicious appear 
ance. But as I perceived this reasoning would 
affect the whole tenor of my preaching, I moved on 
with slow and trembling steps ; and, having to feel 
my way out of a labyrinth, I was a long time ere I 
felt satisfied. 

" My mind was also frequently diverted to other 
subjects of inquiry. In the first year of my minis 
try, books were put into my hands which led me to 
consider certain questions in divinity, which it might 
easily be thought were improper for me at the age 
of twenty. One of these, by Mr. Stockell, was on 
the pre-existence of Christ's human soul, be 
fore he was born of the virgin. Another, by Mr. 
Allen, was on the Sonship of Christ, or whether 
the character of the only begotten Son of God would 
ever have belonged to him if he had not been the 
son of Mary ? These things would not have occu 
pied my mind had they not been suggested by 
others. Yet I have reason to thank God that they 
were the occasion of fixing my judgment ; and I 
have since perceived that every thing pertaining to 
the person of Christ is of more than ordinary im 
portance. 

" As to the pre-existence of Christ's human 
soul, it seemed to me, in itself, a strange conceit, and 
such as I should never have thought of in reading 
the Scriptures. The texts on which it was founded 
seemed to be forced into the service, especially Prov. 
viii. and Ps. cxxxix. 15, 16 ; and though some who 
professed to believe in the Divinity of Christ were 
partial to the notion, yet I suspected it was invent 
ed to undermine that important doctrine. It is true, 
this notion was held by Dr. Watts, and I examined 
his reasoning, but without obtaining satisfaction. 



XXIV 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



In consequence of the examination I made at that 
time I was enabled afterwards to repel an attack 
from a company of ministers, who were warm for 
that opinion. When they put it to me, I offered to 
prove that it led to atheism or relinquish the ar 
gument. They accepted my offer. I began by 
saying, ' You suppose the human soul of Christ 
to be a party in the everlasting counsels of God '? ' 
' Yes, God could not take counsel with himself, 
for a council implies more than one ; but God is one.' 
' Yet you do not suppose the soul of Christ to 
have always existed ? ' ' No ; it was created, and 
therefore could not be eternal.' ' Then you must 
suppose that, till the great God had a creature to 
take counsel with, he had no plan prior to the act 
of creation he was without counsel, without plan, 
without design ! But a being without plan, purpose, 
or design, is not God ! ! ! Thus you are landed on 
atheism. The truth is, God never was without his 
plan, purpose, or design. By applying, too, those 
passages of Scripture which express the pre-exist- 
ence of Christ, and thereby prove his Divinity, to 
the pre-existence of his human soul, you undermine 
his Divinity and favour the Arian hypothesis.' 

" Concerning the Sonship of Christ, I had more 
hesitation. I conversed upon it with my friend 
Diver, who was favourable to Mr. Allen's idea, 
namely, that Christ is called the Son of God, not 
as a Divine person, but as assuming human nature, 
and being both God and man. He, however, very 
generously advised me to read the New Testament 
with an eye to the question, and to observe, as I 
went along, whether in any instances where Christ 
is represented as the Son of God, it respected him 
as a Divine person antecedent to his incarnation ; 
and whether the Scripture name for Christ's pre- 
incarnate person was not the WORD rather than 
the SON of God. In reading and thinking on the 
subject I found such proof as quite satisfied me that 
he was the Son of God, antecedently to his being 
born of a woman, and that in calling God his own 
Father he made himself equal with God. The fol 
lowing passages appeared to me to admit of no 
other fair interpretation than that which I was in 
vited to reject, John v. 18 ; Gal. iv. 4 ; Heb. i. 8 ; 
v. 8, 9 ; 1 John iii. 8.* Had I not been initiated 
into these principles at an early period, I should 
not have been able to write the treatise against So- 
cinianism, which I have no cause to regret havin<* 
written. 

" Besides these, I was much perplexed about the 
same time with the writings of Mr. John Johnson, 
of Liverpool, and for some time favoured his scnti- 

* For further remarks on this subject, see Index, Art. Son- 
ship of Christ. 



ments. There was something imposing in his man 
ner, by which a young and inexperienced reader is 
apt to be carried away ; my pastor had also been 
one of his admirers. His denial of God's having 
decreed to permit sin, and his notion of the pur 
poses of grace being executed upon the elect, 
even though sin had never intervened, much en 
tangled me. It seemed as if he were concerned to 
vindicate his Creator from being the author of 
sin ; and in this view I could not but approve ; 
but on the other hand, it appeared to me idle to 
speculate on what God could or would have done 
concerning his elect, if sin had never intervened, 
when all his revealed counsels went on the suppo 
sition of its existence ; even the incarnation of his 
Son was ' to destroy the works of the devil.' And 
all the grace given us in Christ Jesus supposed the 
intervention of sin ; his scheme, therefore, appeared 
to have no foundation in the Scriptures. And, re 
specting the decree to permit sin, I was one day 
conversing with a friend upon it, who observed, ' It 
is a fact, is it not, that God has permitted sin ? 
And can it be a reproach to his character that he 
should have decreed to do what he has done f 

" This remark carried conviction to my mind. I 
saw that, if there were any thing inconsistent with 
the Divine perfections in the affair, it must be in 
permitting evil, and not in the decree to permit it. 
If the one were right the other could not be wrong, 
unless it were wrong to determine to do what is 
right. But to say that it is wrong for God to per 
mit evil is either to arraign the Divine conduct, or 
to maintain that evil exists without being permitted. 
I perceived, too, that Mr Johnson availed himself of 
the ambiguity of the word permit, and because it 
signifies on some occasions to give leave, would 
have it thought that God could not be said to per 
mit it. After this, I thought but little more of it, 
but rested in this, The Judge of the whole earth 
will do right. 

" In reviewing some of these questions, which 
occupied my attention at so early a period, I have 
seen reason to bless God for preserving me at a 
time when my judgment was so immature. When 
I have seen the zeal which has been expended in 
maintaining some such peculiarities, I have thought 
it a pity. Bunyan would have called them ' nuts 
which spoil the children's teeth.' They have ap 
peared to me as a sort of spiritual narcotics, which, 
when a man once gets a taste for them, he will pre 
fer to the most wholesome food. It was in recol 
lection of these things that I lately wrote, in an Es 
say on Truth, as follows ,' A man who chews 
opium, or tobacco, may prefer it to the most whole 
some food, and may derive from it pleasure, and 



IS ORDAINED PASTOR OVER THE CHURCH AT SOU AM. 



x\v 



even vigour for a time ; but his pale countenance 
and debilitated constitution will soon bear witness 
to the folly of spending his money for that which is 
not bread.' 

" In the spring of 1775 I accepted the invitation 
of the church at Soham, and was ordained their 
pastor. The pastors of the other churches, who 
attended the ordination, took that opportunity to in 
quire into the controversy which had divided us 
from our former minister, and requested me to state 
the difference. Mr. Robert Hall, of Arnsby,* who 
'lie of them, expressed his satisfaction in the 
>t;itrment, but recommended Edmards on tlie 
1l"tll to my careful perusal, as the most able per 
formance on the power of man to do the will of God. 
Not being much acquainted with books at that time, 
I confounded the work of Dr. John Edwards, of 
Cambridge, an Episcopalian Calvinist, entitled Ve- 
ritas Redux, with that of Jonathan Edwards, of 
New England. I read the former, and thought it 
a good book ; but it did not seem exactly to answer 
Mr. Hall's recommendation. Nor was it till the 
year 1777 that I discovered my mistake. Mean 
time, however, I was greatly exercised upon the 
subject, and upon the work of the Christian ministry. 

" The principal writings with which I was first 
acquainted were those of Bunyan, Gill, and Brine. 
I had read pretty much of Dr. Gill's Body of Di- 
rintty, and from many parts of it had received con 
siderable instruction. I perceived, however, that 
the system of Bunyan was not the same with his ; 
for that, while he maintained the doctrines of elec 
tion and predestination, he nevertheless held with 
the free offer of salvation to sinners without distinc 
tion. These were things which I then could not 
reconcile, and therefore supposed that Bunyan, 
though a great and good man, was not so clear in 
liis views of the doctrines of the gospel as the writers 
who succeeded him. I found, indeed, the same 
things in all the old writers of the sixteenth and se 
venteenth centuries that came in my way. They 
all dealt, as Bunyan did, in free invitations to 
sinners to come to Christ and be saved ; the con 
sistency of which with personal election I could not 
understand. It is true, I perceived the Scriptures 
abounded with exhortations and invitations to sin- 
but I supposed there must be two kinds of 
holiness, one of which was possessed by man in in 
nocence, and was binding on all his posterity the 
other derived from Christ, and binding only on his 
people. I had not yet learned that the same things 
which are required by the precepts of the law are 

This great and excellent man was the father of the late 
Robert Hall. A. M., and author of " Help to Zion's Travel 
lers," Sic. Mr. Fuller, alluding to the commencement of his 



bestowed by the grace of the gospel. Those exhort 
ations to repentance and faith, therefore, which are 
addressed in the New Testament to the unconverted, 
I supposed to refer only to such external repentance 
and faith as were within their power, and might be 
complied with without the grace of God. The ef 
fect of these views was, that I had very little to say 
to the unconverted, indeed nothing in a way of ex 
hortation to things spiritually good, or certainly 
connected with salvation. 

" But in the autumn of 1775, being in London, I 
met with a pamphlet by Dr. Abraham Taylor, con 
cerning what was called The Modern Question. 
I had never seen any thing relative to this contro 
versy before, although the subject, as I have stated, 
had occupied my thoughts. I was but little im 
pressed by his reasonings till he came to the ad 
dresses of John the Baptist, Christ, and the apos 
tles, -which he proved to be delivered to the ungodly, 
and to mean spiritual repentance and faith, inasmuch 
as they were connected with the remission of sins. 
This set me fast. I read and examined the Scrip 
ture passages, and the more I read and thought, the 
more I doubted the justice of my former views. 

" About the same time, I met with a sermon by 
Mr. John Martin, from Rom. x. 3, On the Causes 
and Consequences of not submitting to the Right 
eousness of God. The drift of this discourse, as 
nearly as I can remember, was to show that sub 
mission to the righteousness of God was the same 
thing for substance as believing in Christ for right 
eousness ; and that non-submission to it was owing 
to wilful ignorance, pride, prejudice, and unbelief. 
I was equally unable to answer this reasoning as 
that of Dr. Taylor, and therefore began more and 
more to suspect that my views had been antiscrip- 
tural. I was very unhappy. I read, thought, and 
prayed. Sometimes I conversed on these subjects 
with my friend Joseph Diver, and some others. He 
was nearly as much at a loss as myself. I made a 
point however of not introducing the question in the 
pulpit till my judgment was fixed. 

" In 1776 I became acquainted with Mr. SutclifF, 
who had lately come to Olney, and soon after with 
Mr. John Ryland, jun., then of Northampton. In 
them I found familiar and faithful brethren ; and 
who partly by reflection, and partly by reading the 
writings of Edwards, Bellamy, Brainerd, &c., had 
begun to doubt of the system of false Calvinism to 
which they had been inclined when they first entered 
on the ministry, or rather to be decided against it. 

But as I lived sixty or seventy miles from them, I 



acquaintance with him, observes, " He came seventy miles to 
my ordination, and continued my father and friend till his 
death." 



XXVI 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER, 



seldom saw them, and did not correspond upon the 
subject. I therefore pursued my inquiries by myself, 
and wrote 'out the substance of what I afterwards 
published under the title of The Gospel worthy of 
all Acceptation or the Obligations of Men cor 
dially to believe whatever God makes known. 

" My change of views on these subjects never 
abated my zeal for the doctrine of salvation by grace, 
but in some respects increased it. I never had any 
predilection for Arminianism, which appeared to me 
to ascribe the difference between one sinner and an 
other, not to the grace of God, but to the good im 
provement made of grace given us in common with 
others. Yet I saw those whom I thought to be 
godly men, both among Arminians and high, or, as 
I now accounted them, hyper Calvinists. I per 
ceived that men's characters were not always formed 
by their avowed principles ; that we may hold a 
sound faith without its having such hold of us as to 
form our spirit and conduct ; that we may profess 
an erroneous creed, and yet our spirit and conduct 
may be formed nearly irrespective of it; in short, 
that there is a difference between principles and 
opinions ; the one are the actual moving causes 
which lie at the root of action, the other often float 
in the mind without being reduced to practice." 

On the important and responsible work of the 
ministry Mr. Fuller entered with that humility and 
devotedness which it demands, and which the pe 
culiar exigences of the people among whom he la 
boured called for in no ordinary degree. 

Though his acceptance of the pastorate added 
somewhat to the pressure of those theological diffi 
culties by which his early engagements were, em 
barrassed, as giving to them more of a practical 
aspect, it had nevertheless a favourable influence on 
their solution, as prompting him to more vigorous 
efforts of thought, a more rigid examination of the 
word of God, and more strenuous applications at a 
throne of grace, and also bringing him into contact 
with eminent individuals who, like himself, were ac 
customed to pursue inquiries with a view to a prac 
tical purpose, and whose means of information had 
been more extensive than his own. Owing however 
to the distance of their residence from his, as well 
as to the independence of his own mind, they might 
be said to have done little more than give an impetus 
to his thoughts, of which they were afterwards happy 
in acknowledging the benefit. 

Among the investigations which occupied his at 
tention at this period, that on the subject of justi 
fication was not the least important. The follow 
ing record of the progress of his mind on this topic, 
written in 1796, may not be uninteresting: 



" When I first set out in the ministry I had no 
other ideas of justification than those which are stated 
by Dr. Gill. ' Justification,' he says, ' may be dis 
tinguished into active and passive. Active justifi 
cation is the act of God. If is God thatjustifieth, 
Passive justification is the act of God terminating 
on the conscience of a believer, commonly called a 
transient act passing upon an external object. The 
former is an act internal and eternal, taken up in the 
Divine mind from eternity, and is an immanent, 
abiding one in it. It is, as Dr. Ames expresses it, 
a sentence conceived in the Divine mind by the 
decree of justifying.' 

" In his Bod. Div. vol. ii. p. 797, the Doctor 
speaks of justification as it ' terminates in the con 
science of a believer, and which (he says) the Scrip 
tures style justification by faith. 11 

" These, till within a few years, were my views. 
But, thinking over these subjects, I felt dissatisfied ; 
I felt that my views did not quadrate with the 
Scriptures ; I endeavoured, therefore, to examine 
the matter closely. It occurred to me that, what 
ever disputes had arisen on this subject, all parties 
that I had read were agreed in considering justifica 
tion as the opposite of condemnation. I found 
this idea also plentifully supported by the Scrip 
tures, Deut. xxv. 1 ; 1 Kings viii. 32 ; Rom. viii. 
33, 34 ; I therefore set myself to examine What 
is condemnation ? Is it, said I, the decree of God 
finally to condemn a sinner ? No ; for every un 
believer, elect or non -elect, is under condemnation, 
John iii. 18. 36, ' the wrath of God abideth on him.' 
Believers ' were by nature children of wrath, even 
as others ;' Saul, therefore, while a persecutor, was 
a child of wrath, or was under condemnation ; yet 
God ' had not appointed him to wrath, but to obtain 
salvation by Jesus Christ.' 

" Hence I concluded, if condemnation be not the 
decree of God finally to condemn, justification is not 
the decree of God finally to acquit. It also ap 
peared to me inconsistent with the nature of things 
to conceive of justification as Dr. Ames expresses it, 
namely, as ' a sentence conceived in the Divine 
mind ;' for, whatever purpose may be conceived in 
a judge's mind in favour of a prisoner, it is not jus 
tification till it is declared in open court. 

" Further, Does condemnation, said I, consist in 
any sense or persuasion which a sinner possesses 
that he shall be condemned ? No ; for many who 
are under condemnation according to the Scriptures 
have no such persuasion, but the reverse, as was the 
case with the Jews, who were persuaded that God 
was their Father while in fact they were of their 
father the devil; and others, who are not under 
condemnation according to the Scriptures, are yet 



HIS MARRIAGE 



\\V11 



at times under apprehension that they are so. But 
if condemnation, continued I, consists not in a sense 
or persuasion that we are or shall be condemned, 
justification consists not in a sense or persuasion 
that we are or shall be justified. 

" On the whole, it seemed evident that the sen 
tence of justification was neither a purpose in the 
Divine mind, nor a sense or persuasion in the human 
mind. The question then returned, What is it ? 
Still keeping hold of my clue, I proceeded to in 
quire, Is not condemnation that state or condition 
of a sinner in which, according to the revealed will 
of God in his holy law, all the threatenings and 
curses stand against him ? Is it not the same thing 
as a being under the curse, which all are who are 
of the works of the Ian7, whether they be elect or 
non-elect ? And, if so, is not justification that state 
or condition of a sinner believing in Jesus, in which, 
according to the revealed will of God in the gospel, 
all the promises and blessings of the new covenant 
belong to him '? Is it not the same thing as a being 
under grace, (Rom. vi. 14,) and which is true only 
of believers ? The sentence of justification is not a 
revelation or manifestation of something to the mind 
which was true before, though unknown to the party ; 
but consists of the voice of God, in the gospel, 
declaring that whosoever believeth shall be saved. 
In this court believers in Jesus stand acquitted from 
all things from which they could not have been ac 
quitted by the law of Moses." 

The above may be regarded as an elementary 
sketch of the writer's sentiments on this great sub 
ject : the reader will find it amplified and exhibited 
in its several relations in various parts of his works, 
particularly in three discourses on Rom. iii. 24. 

On the 23d December, 1776, Mr. Fuller married 
Mi>s Sarah Gardiner, a member of the church at 
Suliam, and daughter of Stephen and Sarah Gar 
diner, of Burwell. This was esteemed one of 
those important events of his life on which, as he 
paid, he never entered without a reference to the 
Divine direction, " In all thy ways acknowledge 
him, and he shall direct thy paths;" and in the re 
trospect of which he could say, " My ways have I 
declared, and thou heardest me/' An affecting 
narrptive is given in this memoir of the last hours 
of this truly pious woman, whose valuable domestic 
qualities were augmented by a more than ordinary 
display of " the ornament of a meek and quiet 
spirit." 



SECTION II. 

CHANGE IX HIS MANNER OF PREACHING ALIEN 
ATION OF SOME OF HIS HEARERS EMBAR 
RASSMENT IN HIS TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES 

DISTRESSING AGITATION OF MIXD IN THE 

PROSPECT OF LEAVING SOII.VM EXTRACTS 

FROM HIS DIARY LETTERS TO MR. WALLIS 

REMOVAL TO KETTERING MUTUAL TESTI 
MONIES TO AND FROM THE CHURCH AT 8O- 
HAM STATEMENT AT HIS ORDINATION. 

MR. FULLER'S strain of preaching, which at first 
nearly corresponded with the views which he had ear 
ly imbibed, soon underwent a change of a most im 
portant and valuable character ; for although, as he 
himself tells us in relation to a kindred subject, " he 
made a point of not introducing the question in the 
pulpit till his judgment was fixed," he was not the 
man to reserve a store of speculative sentiments at 
variance with the character of his public ministra 
tions. 

Though he was not without cheering instances of 
success, it was no matter of surprise that many, 
especially those whose lethargy was disturbed by 
the searching and practical character which his 
ministry had now begun to assume, should express 
their dissatisfaction in a manner that served to de 
press a mind naturally susceptible of the tenderest 
emotions, and the earliest religious sensibilities of 
which had grown up among them. The increased 
disposition among the inhabitants of the town to 
attend his ministry was not met by a corresponding 
concern on the part of the church to afford them 
the accommodation which their place of worship 
would not supply ; though an increase in their rent, 
at that time, furnished an inducement to some effort 
for securing it in another direction. 

To these causes of unhappiness was added the 
extreme depression of his temporal circumstances 
his whole yearly income from the people having 
never exceeded thirteen pounds, and his attempts 
to derive support, first from a small shop, and then 
from a school, both proving unsuccessful ; so that, 
notwithstanding all his exertions, he could not pre 
vent an annual inroad upon his little property, most 
distressing to himself and ruinous to the future 
prospects of a rising family. Under such compli 
cated trials his health suffered a shock from which 
he with difficulty recovered. He was, however, 
destined by the providence of God yet to undergo 
an ordeal not less trying to his physical powers than 
to his religious principles. With him the question 
of leaving a station which he thought the providence 
of God had assigned him, in which he had experi 
enced tokens of Divine approbation, and which was 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



especially endeared to him by early associations, 
was not very easily disposed of. It has been thought, 
and perhaps not without reason, that he carried his 
conscientious scruples on this point to an unjustifi 
able extent. Be that as it may, this important era 
of his life is allowed on all hands to have elicited 
two features the most characteristic and the most 
godlike ; it is difficult to say whether his integrity 
or his love was the more conspicuous, whether 
his conscience or his feelings appeared the more 
exquisitely tender. " Men who fear not God," 
observes the late excellent Dr. Ryland, "would 
risk the welfare of a nation with fewer searchings 
of heart than it cost him to determine whether he 
should leave a little dissenting church, scarcely con 
taining forty members besides himself and his wife." 
That distressing and protracted hesitation, which 
enslaved a mind afterwards distinguished for a 
promptitude and decision equal to the most varied 
and complicated difficulties, marks an important 
peculiarity in the present case. Here he feared 
" lest haply he should be found even to fight against 
God:" there, satisfied that God was on his side, it 
was utterly beyond the compass of human power to 
baffle or daunt him. A selection from his diary, 
kept during the last two years of his residence at 
Soham, while it furnishes a history of the progress 
of events, will exhibit the exercises of his mind on 
this subject, as well as others relative to his ex 
perience and the discharge of his pastoral functions ; 
and as it is not so much the object of this memoir 
to hasten through the narrative of events as to con 
vey a correct portraiture of the subject of it during 
their progress, no apology is deemed necessary for 
the miscellaneous character of these extracts. 

" 1780, Jan. 10. A solemn vow or renewal of 
covenant with God. 

" O my God, (let not the Lord be angry with 
his servant for thus speaking,) I have, thou knowest, 
heretofore sought thy truth. I have earnestly en 
treated thee that thou wouldest lead me into it; 
that I might be rooted, established, and built up in 
it, as it is in Jesus. I have seen the truth of that 
saying ' It is a good thing to have the heart estab 
lished with grace ;' and now I would this day so 
lemnly renew my prayer to thee, and also enter 
afresh into covenant with thee. 

" O Lord God ! I find myself in a world where 
thousands profess thy name ; some are preaching, 
some writing, some talking about religion. All 
profess to be searching after truth ; to have Christ 
and the inspired writers on their side. I am afraid 
lest I should be turned aside from the simplicity of 
the gospel. I feel my understanding full of dark 
ness, my reason exceedingly imperfect, my will 



ready to start aside, and my passions strangely vo 
latile. O illumine mine understanding, ' teach my 
reason reason,' my will rectitude, and let every 
faculty of which I am possessed be kept within the 
bounds of thy service. 

" O let not the sleight of wicked men, who lie in 
wait to deceive, nor even the pious character of good 
men, (who yet may be under great mistakes,) draw 
me aside. Nor do thou suffer my own fancy to 
misguide me. Lord, thou hast given me a deter 
mination to take up no principle at second-hand ; 
but to search for every thing at the pure fountain of 
thy word. Yet, Lord, I am afraid, seeing I am as 
liable to err as other men, lest I should be led aside 
from truth by mine own imagination. Hast thou 
not promised, ' The meek thou wilt guide in judg 
ment, and the meek thou wilt teach thy way ? ' 
Lord, thou knowest, at this time, my heart is not 
haughty, nor are mine eyes lofty. O ' guide me 
by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to 
glory.' 

" One thing in particular I would pray for ; 
namely, that I may not only be kept from erroneous 
principles, but may so love the truth as never to 
keep it back. O Lord, never let me, under the 
specious pretence of preaching holiness, neglect to 
promulge the truths of thy word ; for this day I see, 
and have all along found, that holy practice has 
a necessary dependence on sacred principle. O 
Lord, if thou wilt open mine eyes to behold the won 
ders of thy word, and give me to feel their trans 
forming tendency, then shall the Lord be my God ; 
then let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, 
if I shun to declare, to the best of my knowledge, 
the whole counsel of God. 

" June 14. Went out to visit some fallen bre 
thren. Convinced that no art was necessary in re 
ligion, resolved to proceed with all plainness and 
openness. Did so ; and hope for good effects. 
Left each party with weeping eyes. But oh how 
liable to sin myself! 

" 17. I think I have seen one thing to-day 
that speaking ostentatiously of any thing laudable 
in ourselves is the way to mar all the peace or 
pleasure that we enjoy in it. I think I see that this 
is a sin which easily besets me, and which needs 
being guarded against. 

" 21. What ! have the powers of grace and sin 
concluded a truce? I feel to-day as if both lay 
nearly still, as if I were strangely destitute of all 
thought ; devoid of pleasure, carnal or spiritual ; 
of sorrow, whether godly or worldly. 

" 24. I see what a strait course it is to steer 
between legality and libertinism. I have been for 
some time trying to walk more closely with God ; 






EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



and now I find the sparks of self-righteous pride 
begin to kindle yet I think I have tasted a sweet 
ness in that plan of redemption which stains the 
pride of all flesh. 

"28. Have found my heart tenderly affected 
several times, especially to-night, in prayer respect 
ing my critical situation. O providence, how in 
tricate ! If rough roads are marked out for me, 
may my ' shoes be iron and brass.' I found a pe 
culiar sympathy towards poor people under trying 
providences, thinking I may have to go that road. 

" 29. It is good to visit the poor, that we may 
know their cases, exercise sympathy and charity to 
wards them, and learn gratitude and many a lesson 
in the doctrine of providence. Oh what a horrid 
depth of pride and hypocrisy do I find in my heart ! 
Surely I am unfit for any company. If I am with 
a superior, how will my heart court his praise, by 
speaking diminutively of myself, not forgetting to 
urge the disadvantages under which I have laboured 
to excuse my inferiority ; and here is a large vacancy 
left, in hope he will fill it up with something like 
this : Well, you must have made good improvement 
of what advantages you have enjoyed ! On the 
other hand, when in company with an inferior, 
how full of self am I ! While I seem to be in- 
fetructing him, by communicating my observations, 
how prone to lose sight of his edification, and every 
thing but my own self-importance aiming more to 
discover my own knowledge than to increase his ! 
While I make these observations I feel the truth of 
them. A thought has been suggested to write 
them, not as having been working in my heart to 
day, but only as discovered to-day. O horridly 
deceitful and desperately wicked heart ! Surely I 
ave little else in my religious exercises but these 
orkings. I am afraid of being deceived at last. 
If I am saved, what must the Son of God have 
endured ! 

30. Much affected to-day in thinking on my 
ituation. I prayed to the Lord earnestly, that if 
there were any thing in his word which might direct 
me, he would lead my mind to it. Here I must 
wait. The Lord may have designed to lead me in 
a \\;iy that I have not known. 

" July 1. My soul has been dejected to-day in 
thinking on the plague of the human heart. Had 
a sweet time in prayer to-night. Through the glass 
of my depravity I see, oh I see, the preciousness of 
that blood which flowed on Calvary ! Oh that the 
idi u< I have had to-night were indelibly written on 
my heart ! But, alas ! one hour of sin will, I fear, 
efface them all. 

" 2. Surely my views of myself, of Divine love, 
and of the blood of Christ, never were clearer, nor 



yielded me greater satisfaction, than last night and 
to-day. I retained the savour throughout this \\ re- 
noon, though it seems abated this afternoon. Well, 
it has been a time of refreshment to my soul ! But 
perhaps I may have somewhat at hand to balance 
it. Oh that I could retain the ideas I have had to 
day ! I thought God was such an infinitely lovely 
Being, that it was a great sin not to love him with 
our whole hearts. I thought one perpetual flame 
of supreme love was his natural due from every in 
telligent creature, and that the want of such love 
merits damnation. And I am under peculiar obli 
gations to love him. 

" 4. Alas, how strange it is ! Those things of 
which a day or two ago I could not think without a 
flood of tears I now feel make little impression on 
my mind ; which seems in a sluggish, jaded, and 
almost sceptical frame. Ah, how soon are those 
ideas effaced ! When shall my love be one eternal 
flame '? I fear some trial is at hand. Oh may the 
Lord keep me. 

" 5. I found some pleasure to-day in preaching 
from Hos. xiii. 9, ' O Israel, thou hast destroyed 
thyself,' &c. I love to open the purity and extent 
of God's righteous law, and thereby the depravity 
of human nature. Here I see the greatness of 
grace. 

" 6. Dull and unaffected. I sometimes feel a 
spirit of idle, sceptical despair ; as if the difficulties 
that attend the finding out what is truth and duty 
were insurmountable. O Lord, keep up in me a 
spirit of activity, and teach me to know and do thy 
will. May I know what is that good, perfect, and 
acceptable will of God. 

" 10. I had an affecting time to-night, in going 
a road where, several years ago, I had many a sea 
son of sorrow and joy. Oh here I saw myself lost, 
there I had a sight of the Saviour ; here I went 
bowed down with fear and despair, there I was 
sweetly checked with a view of the faithfulness of 
God ; in this place I mourned my desolate state, 
in that the state of the church lay heavily upon me; 
yonder my hopes respecting the church were ex 
cited by thinking of Psal. cxxii. 1,2. 8, 9. Oh 
what strange events since ! By the help of God I 
have continued to this day. When my soul is cast 
down within me, may I remember thee, from Her- 
mon, and Jordan, and the hill Mizar. 

" 12. ' O wretched man that I am ! who shall 
deliver me from the body of this death ? ' O mine 
iniquity ! Surely 1 had rather die than feel again 
what I have felt of the odious risings of this unholy 
heart. Oh the wormwood and the gall ! Tremble, 
my soul, at the rising of that which has so often 
filled thy cup with bitterness ; that which made 



XXX 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



thy Lord as it were shrink back from suffering. Oh 
may the remembrance of this make thee shrink 
back from sinning. Surely the renewal of a fresh 
conflict with old corruptions is not the trial I feared. 
Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from 
evil, O Lord. 

" 15. Alas! with what can I go forth to-mor 
row ? My powers are all shackled, my thoughts 
contracted. Yesterday and this morning I seemed 
to feel some savour, but now all is gone ; like the 
seed by the way-side, which the fowls of the air 
devoured. 

" Bless the Lord ! To-night I have felt a melt 
ing sense of the heinous nature of backsliding from 
the Lord, while thinking on Jer. ii. 5. 31 33. 
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within 
me, bless his holy name ; he maketh me to renew 
my strength like the eagle, dissolves my hardness, 
disappoints my fears, and touches my lips as with 
a live coal from his altar. Bless the Lord, O my 
soul. 

" 17. O my dear brother Diver ! When shall 
we recover our loss in losing you ? What disorders 
have we now in the church ! Our hands, heads, and 
hearts, how full ! O my father, my father, the cha 
riots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof ! Methinks 
I shall go all my days, at times, in the bitterness of 
my soul. Ah ! we took sweet counsel together, 
and walked together to the house of God but all 
is over. As he said on his dying bed, ' I have done 
with that life.' Alas, he has done his all with us. 

" Ah, woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips, and 
dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. My 
heart is ready to sink beneath its load. More bad 
conduct among my brethren. The Lord have 
mercy on them and me ! Surely I labour in vain, 
and spend my strength for nought. All my warn 
ings, instructions, reproofs, &c., whether in or out 
of the pulpit, seem to have no effect. 

" 18. Great part of this day sadly mispent ; but 
have had a sweet evening, in views of the latter-day 
glory, from reading Isaiah xi. xii. How dark the 
day in which I live ! Watchman, what of the night ? 
Watchman, what of the night? 

" 20. O peace, thou inestimable jewel ! The 
Lord grant I may never enter the polemical lists. 

"21. Dejected through worldly and church 
concerns, but had some relief to-night in casting all 
my care upon the Lord, hoping that he careth for 
me. The Lord undertake for me ! O thou that 
manages! worlds unknown, without one disappoint 
ment, take my case into thy hand, and fit me for thy 
pleasure. If poverty must be my portion, add 
thereto contentment. 

" 22. Ah how heavily do I drag on without the 



Lord ! I can neither think nor do any thing to pur 
pose. Lord, help me. Sin, how deceitful ! While 
we may obtain an apparent victory over one sin, we 
may be insensibly enslaved to another : it may 
seem to flee before us, like the Benjamites before 
Israel, and yet retain an ambushment to fall upon 
our rear. 

" 27. Oh what an ocean of impurity have I still 
in me ! What vain desires lodge in my sinful heart ! 
Rich must be the blood that can atone, infinitely 
efficacious the grace that can purify, and inconceiva 
ble the love that can remain without the shadow of 
turning amidst all this vileness. Oh, had every 
creature in heaven and earth joined in assuring me 
of God's love to me, I could never have believed 
it but for the assurances grounded on his own word. 

" 29. Surely I do not study the cases of the 
people enough in my preaching. I find by convers 
ation to-day, with one seemingly in dying circum 
stances, that but little of my preaching has been 
suited to her case. Visiting the sick, and convers 
ing sometimes even with the unconverted part of 
my hearers about their souls, and especially with 
the godly, would have a tendency to make my 
preaching more experimental. 

" Am not I a fool and slow of heart to believe ? 
Notwithstanding all the Scripture says of my impo- 
tency, all the experience I have had of it, and all 
my settled and avowed principles, how hard is it 
for me to believe that I am nothing ! Ah ! can I 
live near to God, set or keep the springs of godli 
ness a-going in my soul, or investigate the things 
of God to any purpose ? No, I cannot : ' When I 
am weak, then (and then only) am I strong ! ' 

" Aug. 6, Lord's day. Alas ! how disconsolate 
this morning ! What a fool am I to lay God under 
a necessity (if I may use such an expression) of 
leaving me to myself to let me and others see that 
I am nothing ! 

" 30. I found my soul drawn out in love to 
poor souls while reading Millar's account of Elliott's 
labours among the North American Indians, and 
their effect on those poor barbarous savages. I 
found also a suspicion that we shackle ourselves too 
much in our addresses ; that we have bewildered 
and lost ourselves by taking the decrees of God as 
rules of action. Surely Peter and Paul never felt 
such scruples in their addresses as we do. They 
addressed their hearers as men fallen men ; as 
we should warn and admonish persons who were 
blind and on the brink of some dreadful precipice. 
Their work seemed plain before them. Oh that 
mine might be so before me ! 

rt Sept. 5. I longed in prayer to-night to be more 
useful. Oh that God would do somewhat by me ! 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



.\\.\i 



Nor is this I trust from ambition, but from a pure 
desire of working for God, and the benefit of my 
fellow sinners. 

" 10. Earnest in prayer with God this afternoon. 
Humbled for our little love ; yet found such desire 
that, could I obtain my wish, the brightest seraph 
should not outvie me in love to my Lord. I saw 
plainly that my salvation must be from first to last 
of free grace. 

" 12. Very much in doubt respecting my being 
in a state of grace. I cannot see that I have, or 
ever had, for any constancy, such an idea of myself 
as must be implied in true humility. The Lord 
have mercy upon me ; for I know not how it is with 
me. One thing I know, that if I be a Christian 
at all, rral Christianity in me is inexpressibly small 
in degree. Oh what a vast distance is there between 
what I ought to be and what I am ! If I am a saint 
at all, I know I am one of the least of all saints : I 
mean, that the workings of real grace in my soul are 
so feeble that I hardly think they can be feebler in 
any true Christian. 

" There is not only an inexpressible distance be 
tween what I ought to be and what I am, but be 
tween what primitive believers, yea, the Scripture 
saints in all ages, seem to have been, and what I 
am. I think, of late, I cannot in prayer consider 
myself as a Christian, but as a sinner casting myself 
at Christ's feet for mercy. 

" 22. I was somewhat moved this morning, in 
thinking of the mercy of God, how it was a hedge 
about us, preserving us from the ravages of the very 
beasts and birds, nay, from the very stones. The 
whole creation groans and suffers through us, and 
would retaliate the injuries we have done them, 
were not a covenant made on our behalf with them. 
See Hos. ii. 18; Job v. 13." 

23. After recording a season of mental dark 
ness, he adds " O blessed be God, he has appear 
ed once again. To-night, while I prayed to him, 
how sweet has Col. i. 19 been to me. That which 
has pleased the Father pleases me. I am glad all 
fulness dwells in him. It is not fit it should dwell 
in me, nor that I should have the keeping of my 
own stock. Oh for some heavenly clue to guide me 
to the fulness of Christ ! 

" Oct. 24. Observed our pronenees to think of 

rselves as others speak of us. For example, If I 
praised at any particular place as a preacher, 

iw prone am I at that place to keep pace with their 

teem, if not to outgo it, in the estimation of my- 

If ! On the other hand, at places where I have 
lelt myself embarrassed, how prone to despair, and 
to take no delight in the work ! Oh how much of 

f have I in me ! how far from that excellent cha 



racter of being dead to the smiles and the frowns of 
men ! 

" 27. My heart often aches in thinking of my 
situation. Lord, what is duty '? ' Oh that my ways 
were directed to keep thy statutes ! ' 

" 30. Had some view to-night of the hardships 
of poverty. What mercies do I enjoy, yet how un 
grateful am I ! What a world of self-sufficiency is 
there in our hearts ! Whence springs our desire of 
riches, dominion, &c., but from an idea of our suffi 
ciency to manage each as we ought ! at least this 
is implied in those desires. Were we truly emptied 
of self-sufficiency, we should be, like Agur, afraid 
of these. 

" Nov. 4. How apt are we to think ourselves 
rather pitiable than blamable for having such re 
mains of corruption in us ! Perhaps one cause of 
this may be our viewing sin in us as an army, or 
something we have to oppose and press through. 
These ideas are good, provided we remember that 
they are figurative, and that this army is nothing 
external, but internal ; and that the opposition is 
not like that wherein the combatant's inclination is 
all one way, but he finds himself overcome wholly 
against his will : were this the case, we should be 
wholly pitiable. But it is as if a debtor were going 
to pay his creditor ; but by the way found great 
struggles whether he should go forward, and behave 
like an honest man, or whether he should turn aside, 
and spend his money in riot and luxury. In this 
case, he certainly ought to have had no struggle, 
nor to have made a moment's scruple. Neither 
ought we to make a moment's scruple about loving 
the Lord with all our hearts, and refraining wholly 
from sinning against him. We may, indeed, be 
pitiable with respect to each other ; but in the sight 
of God we are wholly blamable. 

" A hard heart is a symptom of distance between 
God and us. As the Lord is nigh to those who are 
of a broken heart, so he is far from those who are 
of a hard heart. 

" 17 25. Have been under very heavy afflic 
tion for above a week, and incapable of writing. 
One day I dreamed that I was dead : waking, and 
finding it but a dream, I trembled at the thought of 
what would become of such a sinful creature were 
this dream realized ! Here I stopped painfully 
stopped. At length I answered, Lord, I have hoped 
in thy salvation. Here I wept and thought I would 
hope still. Oh that it may not be in vain ! 

" 28. For some days past, have been tenderly 
concerned about my situation. Oh that the Lord 
would bestow upon me his counsels and his care ! I 
am afraid of pride being in my motives both ways. 
Oh that God would hear and help me ! The parable 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



of the talents has been something to me. I am fre 
quently told that my talents are buried here ; but I 
do not know. Oh that I may not have to go upon 
this principle, that some plainer path might appear 
if I must go ! 

" Dec. 26 29. Afflictions having returned, I 
think I might make too light of the former ; this, 
though lighter on the body, yet seems heavier on the 
mind. I am sometimes pressed with guilt for my 
lightness under the other : sometimes ready to sink 
into a kind of despondency almost like that of Jo 
nah, ' It is better for me to die than to live.' 

" 1781, Jan. 1. Alas! my affliction, instead of 
taking away sin, seems to be attended with new 
risings of evil. O wretched man that I am ! Surely 
it does not seem consistent that a heart so full of 
stupidity and unholiness, and in so constant a man 
ner too, can be the residence of the Spirit of God. 
Surely those great things said to be done in the 
hearts of the godly are not done in me ! Yet I 
have found some outgoings of soul to God after 
keeping and quickening grace. 

" 15. Much disheartened in seeing the coolness 
of some in providing for the future welfare of the 
church. 

" 26. Much affected to-day for my dear father, 
who I fear will die. Oh his immortal soul ! How 
can I bear to bury him unconverted ? Father, if it 
be possible, let this cup pass from me ! I have had 
many earnest outgoings of soul for him, and some 
little conversation with him. ' Have you any out 
goings of soul, father, to the Lord?' 'Yes, my 
dear, I have.' ' Well, father, the Lord is rich in 
mercy to all that call upon him : this is great en 
couragement.' 'Yes, my child, so it is; and I 
know, if I be saved, it must be by him alone. I 
have nothing to recommend me to his favour: but 
my hopes are very small.' 

" 27. Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me ! Give me some good hopes of the welfare 
of his soul ; then I could almost be willing to part 
with him. This would be letting the" cup pass from 
me. ' But oh the soul that never dies ! ' The woman 
of Canaan made her daughter's case her own, and 
cried, ' Lord, help me ! ' Surely I may do likewise 
by my father. 

"28. Lord's day. Affected with nothing else 
to-day but the thoughts of my father's death. This 
I know not how to bear. Preached somehow from 
Job xiv. 1, and Heb. ii. 14. 

" 29. O he is gone ! he is gone! for ever gone! 

' His course is finished now, his race is o'er; 

The place which knew him knows him now no more ; 

The tree is fallen, and ever there must lie, 

To endless ages of eternity.' 



" Feb. 3. I think I have never yet entered into 
the true idea of the work of the ministry. If I 
had, surely I should be like Aaron, running between 
the dead and the living. I think I am by the 
ministry, as I was by my life as a Christian before 
I read Edwards on the Affections. I had never 
entered into the spirit of a great many important 
things. Oh for some such penetrating, edifying 
writer on this subject ! Or, rather, oh that the Holy 
Spirit would open my eyes, and let me into the 
things that I have never yet seen ! 

" 5. A pulpit seems an awful place ! An op 
portunity for addressing a company of immortals 
on their eternal interests Oh how important ! We 
preach for eternity. We in a sense are set for the 
rising and falling of many in Israel. And our own 
rise or fall is equally therein involved. 

" 8. Oh would the Lord the Spirit lead me into 
the nature and importance of the work of the 
ministry ! Reading a wise and spiritual author 
might be of use ; yet could I, by Divine assistance, 
but penetrate the work myself, it would sink deeper 
and be more durable. 

" 13. I think when we are in company, and 
address ourselves to any one in particular, it too 
often happens that the applause of the company, 
rather than the edification of the person or ourselves, 
is the object. Hence witticisms, and such sayings 
as sting the party addressed, are introduced. Pride, 
how pernicious ! 

" March 5. To-night it seems as if it would 
break my heart to remove. The seal and fruits of 
my ministry are dear to me, yet how it can be 
otherwise I cannot see. 

" 26. My soul is discouraged because of the 
way ; I am full of confusion : see thou mine afflic 
tion. Oh that 1 knew what was my duty ! Let me 
not err for want of knowledge, and pierce myself 
through with many sorrows. I think my soul is 
like the body of an aged man : even a grasshopper 
becomes a burden. I seem unable to do any thing 
more. I had an affecting time in prayer on these 
subjects. I thought what an immense fulness of 
light and happiness dwelt in God ! how easily could 
he inform my mind and comfort my heart ! 

"29. What a wonder am I to myself! Com 
pared with what I deserve to be, how happy ! 
compared with what I desire to be, how miserable ! 

" April 1 . It seems as if the church and I should 
break each other's hearts ! To-night I have been 
but truly charged with having ' an irregular mind.' 
How heartily could I embrace death, if it pleased 
God to send it ! How far are peace and happiness 
from me ! 

" 2. Affected in prayer. Oh for an unerring 



I.XTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



guide ! Oh that, I knew the Lord's will ! Verily, if I 
know mine own heart, I would do it. I had 
rather, I think, much rather walk all my days in the 
most miserable condition, than offend the Lord by 
trying to get out of it. 

" 10. The thoughts of my situation now return, 
and overpower me ! To-night I was exceedingly 
affected in prayer, earnestly longing that I might 
know the will of God. I have entered to-night into 
a solemn voiv, which I desire it may please God to 
accept at my worthless hands. With all the powers 
of my soul, with the utmost effusion of feelings, I 
have vowed to this effect before the Lord : ' O 
Lord ! if thou wilt give me so much light as plainly 
to see in this case what is my duty, then, if I do not 
obey the dictates of conscience, let my tongue for 
ever cleave to the roof of my mouth ; let my ministry 
be at an end ; let me be made an example of thy 
displeasure against falsehood ! ' 

" The case of those who asked counsel of Jere 
miah (chap, xlii.) seemed to excite in me a jealousy 
of my own heart ; but, so far as I know any thing 
of myself, I am resolved to stay or go as it should 
please God, did I but know his will. 

" 18. Earnest outgoings to God in prayer. To 
morrow seems a day of great importance. Then I 
must give my reasons to the church for what I have 
intimated concerning my removal. The Lord guide 
and bless them and me ! 

" 19. I went to meeting to-day with very little 
premeditation, thinking an upright heart would be 
prepared. I assigned two reasons for my removal 
the complaints some have made of non-edification, 
and my wasting my property every year. Neither 
of these objections being answered, the church 
despairs, all is in confusion ! Ah ! what can I 
lo? what can they do? My heart would say, 
Stay ; would freely go and gather them together, 
and pour oil into their wounds. My judgment only 

forbids me No No ! Surely I cannot 

go ! My heart is overwhelmed lead me to the 
rock that is higher than I ! Have been pouring 
out my heart to the Lord since I came from the 
meeting; think I could rather choose death than 
departure. My heart is as if it would dissolve. It 
is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 

" 21 . Vast are the trials tied to time, 

And all my thoughts confusion still. 

My spirit is overwhelmed within me ; my heart 
within me is desolate. Now my mind seems to lean 
as if I must stay, even though it terminate in my 
temporal ruin. O fluctuating soul! 

" May 1. Have been praying to the Lord that 
I may keep to that direction which has been so 
much to me ten or eleven years ago. ' In all thy 
c 2 



ways acknowledge him,' &c. This passage lias 
been several times like a present help in time of 
need. Oh that it may be such now ! 

" 4. All my powers of body and mind absorbed 
in my extreme affliction. I thought towards night 
that, as these limbs had been ingloriously employed 
in the service of sin, how reasonable, though par 
doning mercy be extended, that they should be 
blasted, confined by a series of affliction, and, at last, 
ingloriously reduced to dust ! Can think of little 
else now but that I must leave Soham ; yet it seems 
an affair of so much importance, I dread it. 

" 6. Confined by bodily affliction from public 
worship this Lord's day. To-night my heart melts 
with compassion towards the church. I think, 
after all, if I go from them, it is as if it must be in 
a coffin. 

"14. O my heart! it is as if it must break. 
Thought, this morning, ' There is a way that seem- 
eth right to a man, but the end thereof is death.' 
This makes me jealous lest specious appearances 
should beguile me. My load seems heavier than I 
can bear ! O Lord, for thine own sake, suffer me 
not to act contrary to thy will. Oh for an unerring 
guide ! 

" 20. To-night I stopped the church, and asked 
them if they could prove it wrong for me to leave 
them, and assured them if they could I would abide 
with them whatever was the consequence. 

" 22. One thing I desire of the Lord, whatever 
be my portion here, if it be to wear out my years 
in pining sadness, let me so walk as to enjoy his 
approbation. Into thy hands I commit my spirit." 

So much were Mr. Fuller's thoughts absorbed in 
the welfare of the church at Soham, that throughout 
this diary no mention appears to be made of that at 
Kettering, which being at this time destitute of a 
pastor, and acquainted with Mr. Fuller's difficulties, 
had repeatedly suggested to him their wishes for his 
removal thither. This, it appears, was at the in 
stance of Mr. Hall, a man whose piety and wisdom 
eminently qualified him to advise, in cases of diffi. 
culty, especially where opposing claims seemed to 
present themselves ; and who also judged his young 
friend to be possessed of talents suited to a more 
enlarged sphere of labour. 

In May, 1781, Mr. Fuller attended the association 
with which both of these churches were connected, 
and which this year assembled at Kettering. Here 
he referred his case to the opinions of the following 
ministers, Messrs. Booth, Evans, Gill, Guy, Hall, 
Hopper, Ryland senior, Ryland junior, and Sut- 
cliffe, who unanimously advised his removal. 

This was not, however, esteemed by him a suffi- 



XXXIV 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



cient indication of his duty, " O my soul," he 
exclaims, " what shall I do? Oh for an unerring 
guide ! " 

" June 26. Have been reading Mosheim, cent, 
xiii. and xiv., to-day. Really I am sick in reading 
so much about monks, mendicant friars, &c. : I could 
have wished the history had more answered to its 
title a history of the church ; but it seems little 
else than a history of locusts. 

" 28. Some sacred delight in reading more of 
Mosheim on the coming forth of those champions of 
the Reformation Luther, Melancthon, Zuinglius, 
Calvin, &c., into the field. I think I feel their 
generous fervour in the cause of God and truth. 
How were the arms of their hands made strong by 
the mighty God of Jacob ! 

" 29. The conduct and condition of some wicked 
people make me bless God for conscious integrity. 
Christ's yoke is truly easy. Purity carries its own 
reward with it. Oh the guilt, the misery that re 
sults from a submission to the yoke of Satan ! Well, 
it is by the grace of God I am what I am ; nor is 
any sin so black or so detestable but that I am liable 
to fall into it. Lord, keep me ! 

" July 3. I was occupied to-day with Mosheim, 
whose partial account of the English Baptists would 
lead me to indulge a better opinion of various sects 
who have been deemed heretics. 

" 12. Have been trying to-day to examine my 
heart, by putting such questions as these to myself: 
Would it be most agreeable to my conscience, after 
all, to continue with my people ? Is it likely in so 
doing 1 should please God, and contribute to the 
welfare of his cause on the whole ? To these ques 
tions I could not see how I could in any degree 
answer in the affirmative. But God knows my 
heart. I have been trying to pray, and surely it is 
my sincere desire, if I am wrong, to be set right. 
I am now going to the church-meeting. The meet 
ing-house has been a Bochim to-day, a place of 
weeping ! I have told the church to expect my 
removal in a quarter of a year's time. O my soul, 
I seem unable to endure such attacks on my feel 
ings. 

" August 11. Have been ravished, as it were, 
to-day, in reading the account of the council held 
by the apostles and elders, Acts xv. Oh the beauty 
and simplicity of primitive Christianity ! 

" 27. I had pleasure in conversing on Rom. viii. 
33. Methought, it indicated the fulness of the Re 
deemer's righteousness ; partly from the character 
of the justified, and partly from that of the justifier 
God, the all-scrutinizing, impartial Judge. 

" September 15. What a difference between the 
book which I keep, and that which God keeps ! Oh 



what an awful, black diary could he produce against 
me in judgment ! " 

An attempt being made about this time to de 
termine the question of Mr. Fuller's removal by a 
reference, both on his part and that of the church, 
to the arbitration of three ministers, he writes thus : 

" September 21. Earnestly affected in prayer, 
that, if it would be most pleasing to God for me to 
stay, I might do so after all. I should not be sorry 
if the arbitrators should judge this to be my duty. 
My soul trembles for the ark of God. What will 
betide the interest of Christ here ? Unto thee I 
lift up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the hea 
vens! 

" 22. O God, thou knowest that I am willing 
to be any thing. It is my unfeigned desire that 
not my will but thine be done. Let not my ease, 
but thine honour, be consulted. Yes ; O thou 
searcher of hearts ! I humbly, earnestly, and un- 
feignedly desire of thee, that, if my departure would 
issue in the failure of thine interest here, never let 
me depart ! Let me rather go mourning all my 
days in the bitterness of my soul." 

From this arbitration, however, nothing was 
elicited, and Mr. Fuller thus expresses himself: 

" October 6. Very heavy in heart. Be not far 
off, O Lord, for trouble is near ! Exceedingly 
melted in thinking on, ' O Ephraim, what shall I do 
unto thee ? ' " 

The following is an extract from a letter written 
about this time to Mr. Wallis, a deacon of the 
church at Kettering : 

" We then agreed that I and an officer of the 
church should take the letters from all parties on 
the subject, and lay them before Mr. Robinson of 
Cambridge, and that which he should judge duty 
in the case we would follow, unless it should ap 
pear to both parties that he was wrong. We wait 
ed on Mr. R. yesterday, and, after an investigation 
of the affair for three or four hours, he gave it as 
his opinion, ' That Mr. Fuller ought to continue 
pastor of the said church for one whole year from 
this day, and after that time if it should appear that 
he can live on his income ; and that the people 
ought to abide by their proposal to raise Mr. Ful 
ler's income to twenty-six pounds a-year, as they 
had proposed, clear of all deductions.' 

" On the 3rd of October I received a note from 
Mr. Hall, who was in London, wherein he wishes 
me not to enter into an engagement to be governed 
by the arbitration ; and suggests that, if my con 
tinuance at Soham should be thus determined, it 
would be a reflection either on the wisdom or in- 



CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. WALLIS. 



\.\ .in 



of the nine ministers whom I consulted at 
Kettering, or else on myself for having related a 
partial tale, tending to lead them into a deception. 
As to the former, I have only to say, however it 
may look, that I have certainly no inferior opinion 
of the wisdom or integrity of the nine ministers to 
that of the arbitrators. I impute it wholly to their 
hearing the matter but from one party ; and as to 
the partiality of my tale, I refer you to what I said 
in my last to you. 

" I dare not, indeed I dare not, go contrary to 
the above decision. I think it would be mocking 
God and the arbitrators to be previously resolved 
what way to take. Would it not be like Ahab's 
asking counsel of Micaiah ? or the Jews of Jere 
miah? (chap, xlii.) I therefore must not comply 
with your invitation. Mr. Robinson referred me to 
what it is that approves a minister of God, in 2 Cor. 
vi. 4 8, and such things have no small impression 
on my heart. 

" I am at this time a compound of feelings. I 
feel, dear brethren, I painfully feel for you. I am 
distressed that a church whose troubles were many 
before should have them increased through me. I 
feel myself unhappy lest my worthy brethren and 
fathers in the ministry should think themselves 
slighted, of which there is nothing that I am less 
conscious ; and should they on this account slight 
me, it will very much grieve me, but I cannot help 
it. I hope they will consider what must necessarily 
be my motives in this matter, and excuse me. I 
am not without feelings on my own account, but 
these are not so great as those for you. Blessed be 
God, I feel peace within, let things issue as they 
will. I enjoy a consciousness of having done every 
thing in this matter as in the sight of Christ ; at 
least to the best of my knowledge. A passage in 
.Mr. Hall's letter to me of April 28, 1780, has both 
Mlay and to-day been sweet to me. 'How 
awfully mysterious are Divine providences! The 
Lord help us to approve and adore with cordial 
affections the dispensations of God. We shall one 
day see we could not have been so well in any 
other condition as in that in which the Lord has 
placed ue, nor without the various afflictions we 
meet with by the way. I have lately thought that 
religion is not designed to please us now, but to 
profit us to teach and dispose us to please God. 
Vnd those who please him, he will please them 
hereafter.' 

" I am not without some fears that, as the time 
of trial is limited to one year, you should some of 
you be hankering still in your minds after me, 
which if you should it will make me exceedingly 
unhappy. I do not mean to spend what I have, 



but if possible to live according to what I shall 
have coming in, and to bow my shoulder to the 
yoke with contentment. It is therefore likely I 
shall stay longer, perhaps all my life. I therefore 
humbly and most earnestly beseech you, by all that 
belongs to your own welfare and my future peace, 
to drop all thoughts whatever of my removal, and 
to look up and look out for some other person to be 
your pastor : the Great Head of the church direct 
your choice ! 

"Great happiness is what I do not look for now; 
but it would serve to increase the little I have re 
maining to receive one more letter from the church 
at Kettering, or, if that is too much trouble, from 
Mr. "W allis, by the church's consent, expressing 
these two things That you entertain no hard 
thoughts of me, as if I had in any respect used you 
ill ; and that you give up all thoughts of my re 
moval, and intend to look out elsewhere. Give my 
love to any of the ministers whose judgment I con 
sulted, and tell them what I say. Accept the same 
to yourselves. That Jehovah-Jireh may see and 
provide for you is, my dear brethren, the prayer of 
" Yours very affectionately, A. F." 

Thus the decision appeared to be thrown further 
off than before. The church at Kettering satisfied 
Mr. Fuller on the subject of his conduct, and en 
deavoured without effect to procure a suitable minis 
ter from the institution at Bristol. Their minds 
being still directed to him, Mr. Fuller, in July, 
1782, thus replies to a letter of Mr. Wallis: 

" You ask in yours, ' Will the Lord raise desires 
in his own people merely to disappoint them f ' 
You think not, seeing that God hath said, The 
desires of the righteous shall be granted. Cer 
tainly if God doth excite desires, and then disap 
point them, it is for some higher end than merely 
their disappointment. You will not think, dear 
sir, that I mean to discourage you, if I should say 
the above explanation of the text in Proverbs is 
inconsistent with truth. I once heard a sermon* 
from Psal. cxlv. 19. The minister proposed first 
to explain his subject, and in so doing he delivered 
something like this : ' God will not grant us every 
desire. That is our mercy; for, (1.) Some of them 
are sinful. David desired to be revenged on Nabal 
and his innocent family. Jonah desired Nineveh's 
ruin. (2.) Others would not be for our good. 
David desired the life of the child he had by Bath- 
sheba ; David also desired the life of Jonathan ; 
neither of which would have been for his good. 
(3.) Nay, not every righteous desire. It is a 
righteous desire for a minister to desire the salvation 
* Since ascertained to have been his own. 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



<>!' those that hear him. So Paul declared, I would 
to God that all that are here present were altogether 
such as I am, Acts xxvi. 29. So again, / could 
tn*l>. myself accursed from Christ, for my 
brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the 
flesh, Ro:n. ix. 1. David desired to build a 
house for God, and it was a righteous desire, for 
God took it well at his hands ; yet he did not grant 
it. Kings and prophets desired to see the Lord 
Messiah, and yet did not see him. How then are 
we to understand it ? Answer. The sum or sub 
stance of their desires shall be fulfilled. What is 
the main desire of a seaman ? that he may arrive at 
the haven. So saints will be brought to their de 
sired haven. What of a pilgrim ? See Heb. xi. 
16. So all the desires of a Christian are summed 
up in this, That he may eternally enjoy God and 
be like him. See 2 Sam. xxiii. 2.' Doubtless 
there is great mystery in these things. However, 
I think it is certain, that when God raises a spirit 
ual desire in a person, it is often, though not al 
ways, with an intention to bestow the object desired." 

On the 20th of August, 1782, after a visit from 
Mr. Wallis, he thus addresses him : " Since I saw 
you, though it is but a little time, yet I have had 
great exercises. The day I parted with you, call 
ing in the evening on one of my friends, my feelings 
were tried by what you know is the most effectual 
battery on my heart of any thing ; I mean bitter 
weeping. The Lord's day following, the meeting 
house, to say all in one word, was a Bochim ! The 
most unfeigned sorrow I believe prevailed in almost 
every heart. For my own part, I found it exceed 
ingly difficult to go on in preaching, and keep from 
weeping quite out. I hastened as soon as worship 
was over to get alone, and there give full vent to 
all my sorrow. We had a private evening meeting, 
which was more trying to me than the day. I saw 
a spirit in the church in general, which had I seen 
half a year ago, I could never have left them, come 
what would, whatever I do now ! I went home to 
my house with a heart full of distress, and my 
strength nearly exhausted with the work and weep 
ing of the day. 

" The next day, August 12, I devoted to fasting 
and prayer : found special outgoings of heart, and 
encouragement to pray from many scriptures. I 
scarcely remember such a day for tenderness and 
importunity in prayer in my life. Two days after, 
I felt my spirits all the morning exceedingly de 
pressed ; got alone, and found a heart to pray, with, 
I tlu'nk, greater importunity than I had done before. 
Oh it seemed as if I must have my petitions granted, 
or I could not live. This last Lord's clay was a 



tender day, but not like the Lord's day pre 
ceding. 

" Truly, sir, nothing but the thoughts of an open 
door for greater usefulness in Christ's cause, (surely 
this is not an illusion !) and my having been so 
engaged to pray for the coming of Christ's kingdom, 
could have kept me from dropping all opposition, 
and yielding to the church's desire. All their for 
mer treatment towards me I cannot remember. I 
am constrained not only to forgive it, but to forget 
it. And as to profit or reputation, things at which 
I have been charged with aiming, these seemed no 
more to me than the mire in the streets. I cannot 
say what I shall do. I desire to be governed by 
judgment, and mean to be so ; but these things in 
fluence my judgment, and that which appeared 
clear before has appeared doubtful since. Some of 
my friends also, who thought my way clear before, 
think it doubtful now. Oh ! it pains me to the 
heart to put you and my dear friends to so much pain. 
I have often of late lamented before the Lord my 
unhappy situation, that it should be my lot to be re 
duced to the painful necessity, to say the least, of 
injuring, at one place or other, that cause which of 
all things in the world I most dearly love ! My dear 
friend, I must beg of you not to have your expect 
ations raised too much. Indeed, I am ashamed 
to mention their being raised at all by the thoughts 
of my coming ; only I know how you are. Truly 
I am not without a dread of being made a curse to 
you if I come. I feel such barrenness and carnal- 
mindedness habitually prevail as often has made me 
think my labours would be blasted, be where I 
might. I know not but such is your partial opinion 
of me, that you will be apt to impute this to a pecu 
liar sensibility of the plague of my own heart ; but 
verily this is not the case. My soul is indeed, like 
the lands of Jericho, barren ; and almost all my 
services, like its waters, naught ; and unless some 
thing extraordinary be done to the spring-head of 
all, to heal the waters, like what was done by the 
prophet Elisha, my barrenness will be my plague 
and the plague of those about me. 

" I must further beg of you not to move it to the 
church to give me any further call. If I leave So- 
ham I shall come, not doubting their willingness to 
receive me ; and, if not, the more there is done by 
the church, as a church, towards it, the greater 
will be their disappointment. For my own part, 
the language of my heart is, ' Here am I, let him do 
with me as seemeth good to him.' I do not expect 
nor wait for extraordinary directions. All I look 
for is to have my way plain, my judgment clear, 
and my conscience satisfied. Pray to the Lord, my 
dear sir, earnestly, yet submissively. I thought it 



LETTER TO THE CHURCH AT KETTERING. 



right to give you an honest account of things as 
above ; and I think it but right as honestly to say, 
on the other hand, that, all things considered, not 
withstanding the check I have lately met with, the 
evidence for removing rather preponderates than 
that for continuing. Meanwhile, till we see the 
issue of things, may we each become dead to all cre 
ated good, any further than as it may subserve the 
glory of God. So desires 

" Your affectionate but distressed friend, 

A. F." 

To a further invitation Mr. F. gave the following 
answer : 

TO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST AT KETTERING. 

" DEAR BRETHREN, Soham, Sept. 22, 1782. 

" Yours I received, and quite approve of your de 
voting a day to fast and pray to the Lord on such a 
solemn occasion. I thank you for your remembrance 
of me, and the church at Soham, on that day, as 
well as for your kind and repeated invitation ; to 
which I can only say, that, if I should leave Soham 
at the time you expect, I have no other thoughts 
than to comply. God only knows how it will be 
with me when the time comes. True it is, I give 
the church here no reason to expect any thing but 
my removal ; but such a spirit of tenderness now 
takes place among them that it shakes my confidence, 
and threatens to destroy my happiness if I remove. 
It is true I do habitually think of removing, but do 
not you expect it too much. Hold Christ and your 
religion with a close hand, but me and every other 
creature with a loose one ! God can bless you 
without me, and blast you with me ! If I come, oh 
that the Spirit of God may come with me ! Surely 
it is my habitual prayer ' If thy presence go not 
with me, carry me not up hence.' With great re 
spect and esteem, I remain, dear brethren, 

" Yours in the gospel, A. F." 

Mr. Fuller removed to Kettering in October, 1782, 
and in the following October was ordained pastor of 
the church. He was' succeeded at Soham by his 
friend Mr. West, one of the deacons, who sub 
sequently became pastor of a church in Dublin. 

An extract from a letter written by the church at 
Soham to that of Kettering, respecting his dismis 
sion, will show their estimation of him : 

" DEAR BRETHREN, 

" Inasmuch as you have requested that our bro 
ther and former pastor, Mr. Andrew Fuller, should 
be dismissed to you, we accordingly comply there 



with, though it pains our hearts, and renews our 
former grief. On the thoughts of such a request 
we are ready to give ear to the voice that cried in 
Ezekiel's hearing, O mlieel! His ways are in the 
great deep, and his footsteps past finding out. 

" Oh that Peter's wish may be accomplished in us, 
' That the trial of our faith, being much more pre 
cious than that of gold which perisheth, might be 
found to praise and glory at the appearing of the 
Lord Jesus Christ.' 

" With regard to Mr. Fuller's conduct as a Chris 
tian, while with us, we have nothing to lay to his 
charge. It was in many respects very amiable. 
Relative to his ministerial character, his faithfulness, 
wisdom, tenderness, and freeness with his friends, 
&c., were the things which captivated our hearts, 
and united our affections to him, which make our 
parting the more trying. But we wish that our loss 
may be your gain. We therefore consent," See. &c. 

While the above demonstrates the feelings of the 
church towards their late pastor, a letter to a friend 
at Soham, written by him a few weeks after his or 
dination at Kettering, will testify the deep interest 
he still felt in their concerns : - 

" DEA.R BROTHER, 

" How deep are the designs of Providence ! ' Too 
deep to sound with mortal lines.' Since I have 
been here, I have had various exercises of mind ; 
but the state of the church at Soham has lain nearest 
of any thing ! Such has been the union of affection 
between them and me, that I suppose no events in 
time, and I hope none in eternity, will ever dissolve 
it. This, I know, some would think to be scarcely 
reconcilable with my conduct in leaving them ; but, 
however it may appear, so it is. I can truly say, 
' Who among them is afflicted, and I burn not ? ' 
My earnest prayers have been in their calamity. I 
have not yet seen any reason to repent of what I 
have done. The Lord, I think, has been with me 
hitherto, in my work, and in my private retirements. 
But, alas, poor people, they are destitute ! Oh ! 
this, after all, wounds me. Oh may He, whose name 
is Jehovah-jireh, see and provide for them ! I trust 
in God they will be provided for. I hear that they 
keep together, and are in a good spirit. The Lord, 
who loves his cause better than we can, will not 
suffer, I think, people of such a spirit to fall to the 
ground. I have many other things to say to you ; 
but I trust shortly to see you. Meanwhile, fare 
well. The Lord be with you ! A. F." 

The following summary of the preceding cir 
cumstances, addressed by Mr. Fuller to the con- 



XX XV 111 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



gregation on the occasion of his ordination at Ket- 
tering, will be read with interest : 

" For me to enter minutely into this affair might, 
perhaps, he attended with too great a revival of 
feelings for me, at this time and place, to sustain ; 
and as the affair is so well known by many here 
present, I must beg to be indulged in being short. 

" It seems a strange thing that is come upon me ! 
I seem still, at times, as if I could scarcely believe 
it to be true ! I was always averse to removals, and 
had inured myself to look upon them with a jealous 
eye. I do not therefore wonder that others have 
done the same by mine. I suppose there was a 
time when, if any one had suggested the idea of my 
removal, it would have seemed to me a strange, 

unlikely thing. But, however, it was so 

it is come to pass ! 

" I imagine it will not be expected that I should 
enter upon a vindication of my conduct in that 
affair. I only say this : several things concurred 
to make me, first, hesitate whether it was my duty 
to abide where I was ; and, afterwards, to think it 
was not. Desirous, however, of doing nothing 
rashly, I was determined to wait a considerable 
time before I did any thing. My chief desire, I 
think, was to preserve a conscience void of offence, 
towards God and towards man. I had, all along, 
much jealousy of my own heart, and many fears. 
I frequently laid my case before God, in prayer, 
with much more importunity than I usually feel. 
I sometimes devoted days on purpose for fasting 
and prayer, on the occasion. On some of those 
days, partly for the church at Soham, and partly 
for myself, I had, I think, the most earnest out 
goings of heart to the Lord that ever I felt in my 
life. I consulted many friends, ministers upon the 
spot (who knew the case) and ministers at a distance. 
I think to nine of them, some of whom are here 
present, I told the case as impartially as I was able, 
and asked their advice. Still my heart felt reluct 
ant at the thoughts of a removal. I submitted the 
case to three or four different persons, who heard 
the particulars on both sides. The issue was, I 
staid another year. At that time, it was my pur 
pose to remain for life. I told the church at Ket- 
tering, in a letter, to that effect. But I soon found 
that reproach reproach unlamented had broken 
my heart ! The bond of my affection was dissolved. 
I could not feel a union of spirit ; without which I 
could not continue. In proportion as I despaired 
of this, I felt my heart incline towards the church 
at Kettering. At length, impelled by several 
motives, (of some of which, especially, I think I 
shall not be ashamed at the day of judgment,) I 
removed ! a painful event to me. I have, how 



ever, one consolation remaining that, as far as I 
know, I acted herein to the best of my judgment 
and conscience. Yet, after all, I have had many 
relentings, and many reflections upon some parts of 
my conduct; as well as fears lest the Lord should 
blast me in the future part of my life : for though 
I have never, to this day, thought the thing itself 
to be wrong ; yet I have, upon review, seen a great 
deal of vanity mixing itself in my motives, and a 
great deal of folly in some parts of my conduct, for 
all which I desire to be ashamed. 

" Since my removal hither, I have found much 
outgoing of heart for the welfare of Christ king 
dom, particularly in this part of Zion. When re 
peatedly requested to take this office upon me, I 
have not been without my fears ; and, might I have 
indulged that sort of feeling, I suppose I should 
not have accepted their invitation for the present. 
But I wish to attend to the voice of duty. Duty 
seemed to call for my compliance. I therefore ap 
plied for, and received, a dismission from the church 
at Soham to the church at Kettering ; and have 
resigned myself up, to serve them in the Lord. I 
wish it may be for the glory of Christ and their 
good ; though, I must own, the pleasure of this day 
is marred to me, because a union with the one 
church cannot be effected but by a disunion with 
the other. " 



SECTION III. 

LABOURS AT KETTERING NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 

ASSOCIATION UNION OF MINISTERS FOR 

PRAYER AND CONFERENCE RELATIVE TO THE 

PROMOTION OF VITAL RELIGION EXTRACTS 

FROM HIS DIARY PUBLICATION OF HIS 

TREATISE ON THE UNIVERSAL OBLIGATION OF 

FAITH CONTROVERSIES ARISING OUT OF IT 

DIARY RESUMED LETTERS TO DR. RYLAND 

ON THE ILLNESS AND DEATH OF HIS DAUGH 
TER SARAH FURTHER EXTRACTS FROM HIS 

DIARY ILLNESS AND DEATH OF HIS WIFE. 

CONSCIOUS of having entered on a more extended, 
and, consequently, a more responsible field of labour, 
Mr. Fuller addressed himself to his work with his 
constitutional ardour. The increase of occupation 
which he had anticipated was chiefly, if not alto 
gether, of a local nature ; but the great Disposer of 
events rendered his removal to Kettering subservient 
to engagements to which those of his pastoral office 
bore a small proportion, whether viewed in relation 
to their bearing on the interests of mankind, or on 
liis own personal exertions. 
The first two years of his residence at Kettering 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



were, however, distinguished by no operations be 
yond the immediate sphere of pastoral labour, if we 
exo-pt those arising out of his connexion with the 
churches of the Northamptonshire Association,* a 
n"_ri>ter of whose statistics and history, for a succes 
sion of years, forms the subject of a private memo 
randum, accompanied with remarks on their cir 
cumstances, indicative of a heart devoted to their 
welfare. The influence of his talents and character 
began early to be felt among them. His assistance 
wa- claimed in their public services, his advice 
sought in their difficulties ; nor is it too much to say 
that his judgment became the standard of appeal to 
an extent altogether unprecedented. 

The friendship which Mr. Fuller had previously 
commenced with those excellent men, the late 
Messrs. Sutcliffe, of Olney, and Ryland, of North 
ampton, was now cemented by frequent intercourse, 
by which the interests of their respective churches, 
as well as those of the cause of Christ at large, were 
materially benefited. A pamphlet, written by the 
celebrated President Edwards, on the importance 
of general union in prayer for the revival of true 
religion, having found its way into their hands, was 
printed and diligently circulated. This was follow 
ed by a small publication, entitled " Persuasives to 
extraordinary Union in Prayer for the Revival of 
Real Religion," appended by Mr. Fuller to a ser 
mon which he published about this time " On 
Walking by Faith : " periodical meetings for prayer 
were instituted among the ministers in their imme 
diate neighbourhoods ; resolutions were also passed 
at a meeting of the Association, at Nottingham, and 
subsequently at similar meetings in other districts, 
recommending the setting apart of the first Monday 
evening in every month for prayer for the extension 
of the gospel. It is, perhaps, not too much to say 
that these gave the impetus to that missionary 
spirit which afterwards extended itself successively 
through every denomination of the Christian world, 
and with which the origin of the British and Fo 
reign Bible Society is closely identified : be that as 
it may, the importance of these meetings became 
more and more obvious in connexion with mission 
ary efforts, the practice being almost universally 
adopted by the various communions of Dissenters, 
and continuing in existence to the present day. A few 
extracts from Mr. Fuller's private memorandums, 
about this time, will show with what singleness of 
heart he entered into the spirit of the apostolic 
aphorism " None of us liveth to himself." 

" 1784, April 11. A tender forenoon in public 
pravor. My heart aches for the congregation, 

This Association embraced at that period the churches in 
several adjoining counties. 



young and old, especially for some who seem to be 
under concern. Oh if Christ might but be formed 
in them ! But I am so carnal that I fear God will 
never do any thing by me. 

" 25. Expounded Matt. iv. this evening, on 
Christ's temptation ; noticed its importance, time, 
circumstances, and issue, inferring that as Christ 
did not run into temptation, but was led up, BO we 
must not; but pray, as he has directed, that we 
enter not into it. 

" 30. Very little exercise to-day. What rea 
son have I to pray for a revival in my soul ! Surely 
I am to a sad degree sunk into a spirit of indiffer 
ence : ' My soul cleaveth to the dust.' 

" May 3. Some tenderness in preaching at 
Stagsden : endeavoured to speak plain and home to 
the understandings and consciences of some poor 
plain people, on Christ's being a roay that men 
knoro not. 

"7. Heard Mr. Robert Hall, jun., from, 'He 
that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.' Felt 
very solemn in hearing some parts ! The Lord keep 
that young man ! 

" 8. Conversation with Robert Hall on various 
subjects. Some tenderness and earnestness in 
prayer after his departure. Oh could I but keep 
more near to God ! How good is it to draw near to 
Him! 

" 11. Devoted this day to fasting and prayer, in 
conjunction with several other ministers, who have 
agreed thus to spend the second Tuesday in every 
other month, to seek the revival of real religion, and 
the extension of Christ's kingdom in the world. 
Feel very unhappy, to think that my heart should 
be no more in it. But very little of the tnie spirit 
of prayer throughout the whole day. 

" 16. A good forenoon : tender in prayer for the 
revival of religion, and the carrying on of a good 
work among our young people. Very tender to 
night, at Thrapston, and greatly concerned for the 
salvation of souls while preaching on sinners being 
like Moab at ease from his youth. Here I am 
child enough to think surely some good must be 
done ! 

" 26. Some sense of the importance of everlast 
ing things, occasioned by hearing the conversation 
of some wicked men. Oh ! if I had an abiding 
sense of the danger and worth of souls, surely I 
should feel more like Aaron, when he ran, with his 
censer, between the living and the dead. 

" June 11. Spoke to-night from, ' Learn of me, 
for I am meek and lowly in heart.' Indeed, I have 
need to learn more of this. I find applauses to be 
fiery trials. 

" 13. At Olney. A poor cold day, except in the 



xl 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



evening. I am weary of being out from home so 
much. I want to be more at home, that I may be 
more with God. 

" 21 . Much affected to-day in visiting some poor 
friends ; especially in going to see a little boy, of 
seven or eight years old, in a decline, not likely to 
continue long. My heart felt for his everlasting 
state. Conversed with him a little on Divine sub 
jects. 

" July 9. Some serious tenderness of spirit and 
concern for the carnality of my heart, for some 
days past. Read to our friends, this evening, a part 
of Mr. Edwards's Attempt to promote Prayer for 
the Revival of Religion, to excite them to the 
like practice. Felt my heart profited and much 
solemnized by what I read. 

" ] 1. A good forenoon in preaching on fellow 
ship with Christ. Felt some tenderness of heart 
several times in the day, longing for the coming of 
Christ's kingdom and the salvation of my hearers. 

" 12. Read part of a poem, by John Scott, Esq., 
on the cruelties of the English in the East Indies, 
causing artificial famines, &c. My heart felt most 
earnest desires that Christ's kingdom might come, 
when all these cruelties shall cease. Oh for the time 
when neither the sceptre of oppression nor heathen 
superstition shall bear the sway over them ! Lord 
Jesus, set up thy glorious and peaceful kingdom 
all over the world ! Found earnest desire this morn 
ing, in prayer, that God would hear the right, as to 
them, and hear our prayers, in which the churches 
agree to unite, for the spread of Christ's kingdom. 
13. Spent this day in fasting and prayer, in 
conjunction with several of my brethren in the mi 
nistry, for the revival of our churches and the spread 
of the gospel. Found some tenderness and earnest 
ness in prayer, several times in the day. Wrote a 
few thoughts on the desirableness of the coming of 
Christ's kingdom. 

" 16. Rode to Arnsby, this morning ; had some 
profitable conversation with Mr. Hall. Returned 

and heard Mr. , of , with grief. Surely 

the system of religion [false Calvinism] which he, 
with too many others, has imbibed, enervates every 
part of vital godliness. 

" 18. A good forenoon in preaching from, ' All 
my springs are in thee ; ' but a better time in prayer. 
Found my heart go out for the children and youth 
of the congregation ; owing, perhaps, to my having 
spoken last night at the grave of the little boy men 
tioned June 21. Poor child! he seemed to like 
that I should talk with him before he died. 

" 19. Chiefly employed in writing and visiting 
poor friends. Think I get good, and hope I do 
some good, by the latter. 



27. Dull and unaffected. Nothing seems to 

ay hold of me. Some fear to-night in prayer. An 
.ccident that has befallen my youngest child now 
ays sufficient hold of me ; I fear lest he should be 
aken from me. Very much moved in prayer for 
him. O Lord, I must have something trying to 
nove me. How I shall endure this I know not. 
O prepare him, and prepare me ! Feel my heart 
:ender to-day, and some thankfulness of heart for 
lope afforded of the child. Ah, how easy to speak 
of resigning our whole selves, and all that pertains 
to us, to the Lord ; but how difficult to do so when 
t comes to the trial ! " 

A more extended sphere of labour began now to 
open itself, and more varied and painful exercises 
of mind awaited Mr. Fuller, than those indicated in 
he preceding extracts ; it was not for him to enjoy 
that freedom from polemical engagements for which 
he had so ardently longed and prayed. The change 
of sentiments which took place during his residence 
at Soham had not been lightly effected, and a manu- 
icript on this subject, which had lain by him from 
that time, though written at so early a period of his 
life, bears evident marks of an acuteness of percep 
tion, and a patience and candour of investigation, 
rarely combined in the productions of those of riper 
years. The preface to this essay is characterized 
by beautiful simplicity of statement, and anticipates 
the distinguishing feature of the work, which, though 
not less remarkable than his other productions 
for logical acumen, assumes less of a polemical 
aspect, and more of the attitude of honest inquiry. 
The difference between them, however, originated 
only in the circumstances under which they were 
respectively produced ; the one being written ex 
pressly for private use, the others as a defence of 
truth. 

The value of the sentiments contained in this 
manuscript, and the methodical and masterly man 
ner in which the subject was argued, were too ob 
vious any longer to admit of its suppression ; and 
the persuasion of friends, aided by the sincere de 
sire of doing good, at length prevailed over the na 
tive modesty of the author. 

The leading sentiment advocated is the universal 
obligation of the hearers of the gospel to its 
cordial and entire reception. 

This was argued on the general principle that 
man is bound to approve and receive whatever 
God presents to his attention, a principle supported 
not less by the sanctions of Scripture than the dic 
tates of reason on the testimony borne to the 
claims of the gospel in particular by the commands, 
exhortations, and invitations, abounding both in 



PUBLICATION OF A TREATISE ON FAITH. 



xli 



the Old and New Testaments on the obedience 
required to the gospel necessarily involving previous 
mon. unbelief being represented as a 
,s-?X subjecting to the most artful pun- 
/'t* and, finally, on other spiritual exer- 
. inseparably connected with faith, being re 
presented as universal duties. 

The leading objections to these views are fully 
considered : these chiefly relate to the decrees of 
God to the particularity of redemption the 
inability of the carnal mind to receive spiritual 
thintfs, and the consequent necessity of Divine 
influence. These doctrines were not only believed 
by Mr. Fuller, but invested with great importance 
in his esteem. The conclusion drawn from them 
against the universal obligation of faith is, how 
ever, shown to be fallacious. That from the first 
position would equally exculpate men from any 
moral delinquency, and also render means for the 
attainment of temporal subsistence vain and incon 
sistent. The inference from the second is shown 
to arise from an overstrained comparison of the 
atonement of Christ to the discharge of a debt, the 
extreme of which view is shown to be at variance 
with the doctrine of free forgiveness, and with 
the application of sinners as suppliants rather than 
imants. In correcting this notion, Mr. Fuller 
insists that the atonement proceeds not on the prin 
ciple of commercial, but of moral justice, and that 
the reasoning thereon must correspond with this 
view. The objection founded on the inability of 
man, Mr. F. meets, by showing that this inability 
is no where represented in Scripture as of a. proper 
or physical, but of a figurative or moral kind,* 
an unwillingness so inveterate as to require a 
Divine influence to overcome it, which, so far from 
excusing an inattention to the claims of the gospel, 
is in itself a gross aggravation of the evil that the 
arguments used to justify it on the ground of alleged 
incapacity annul a distinction founded not less in 
reason than in Scripture, and would equally justify 
any grade of moral delinquency and a total disre 
gard of the law of God, and at once exculpate men 
from the imputation of sin. The subtle distinction 
of duties into moral and spiritual, by which the 
force of this reasoning is evaded, is proved to have 
no existence in Scripture and it is shown that, in 
fact, there can be no true morality which is not 

Mr. F., in reply to an opponent, thus explains his views of 

this subject : " All such terms as necessary, cannot, impos- 

fible, &c., when applied to these subjects, are used improperly : 

they always denote, in strict propriety of speech, an obstruction 

arisiiur from something distinct from the state of the will." This 

' represents man as not only possessing great advantages, 

'ible to comply with every thing that God requires at 

*w hand ; and that all his misery arises from his voluntary 



spiritual, nor can God require an insincere or de 
fective obedience. 

Powerful as were the arguments advanced by 
Mr. Fuller in this treatise, it was not to be expected 
that a view of religion so practically identified with 
the whole system of theology which had prevailed 
nearly half a century, and had been partially em 
braced and defended by men of acknowledged 
talent and piety, would readily surrender its claims 
on the public regard. Some excellent men of the 
same connexion as Mr. F. were grieved that the 
doctrines of free grace should, as they considered, 
sustain an injury from one who professed an adher 
ence to them. One of these addressed himself re 
spectfully in reply ; while others, less mindful of 
the interests of truth than of their own personal 
importance, poured forth torrents of illiterate abuse, 
unaccompanied with the shadow of an argument. 

A neighbouring minister, whom we must, in the 
judgment of charity, hope to have been in some 
measure influenced by the former of these feelings, 
but who cannot claim an exemption from a portion 
of the latter imputation, earnestly importuned a 
sight of the MS. With this request Mr. Fuller 
complied, at the same time observing that any 
animadversions he might make should receive a 
serious and candid attention, provided they were 
accompanied by evidence. The manuscript was 
soon returned, accompanied with a letter replete 
with illiterate abuse, while all argument was de 
clined, on the pretext that " enough had been said 
already." He charges Mr. F. with having " gathered 
those scriptures used by Arminians," to the neglect 
of those parts which " speak distinctly and clearly 
the Jews' language, and not the language of Ash- 
dod." He further charges him with disrespect to 
Drs. Gill, Owen, Ridgely, Sec.; and concludes by 
expressing his conviction that " time was when no 
such calf would ever have been suffered to be born 
or nourished at the little meeting at Kettering." 

The respect Mr. Fuller bore to the private cha 
racter of this individual induced him to reply. 
" If," he writes, " a friend of mine had called on 
me purely in a way of respect ; if he had written 
any thing that I did not approve ; if I had requested 
and even importuned a sight of it upon the footing 
of friendship ; if he had desired me with all the 
frankness of a Christian to point out any of his mis- 
abuse of mercy, and his wilful rebellion against God. It is 
not a want of ability, but of inclination, that proves his ruin." 
p. 249. In a note, he adds, " I maintain that men have the 
same power, strictly speaking, before they are wrought upon 
by the Holy Spirit, as after, and before conversion as after ; 
that the work of the Spirit endows us with no new rational 
powers, nor any powers that are necessary to moral agency." 



xlii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



takes, promising to rectify or suppress any thing 
that should be found amiss, adding, however, this 
caution, that I should not barely call them mistakes, 
but prove them so ; if, on perusing his papers, I 
had, instead of making any candid remarks tending 
to conviction, written a letter fraught with reproach 
ful sneers and low invective, unaccompanied by any 
kind of evidence; I should have thought, had I 
thought right, that I had acted beneath the minister, 
the Christian, or the man. 

" Texts of Scripture are none the worse for hav 
ing been quoted by Arminians. You wonder that 
any who call themselves Calvinists should talk thus ; 
and I wonder any should call themselves Calvinists 
who talk otherwise. It is very singular to charge 
me with disrespect to Drs. Gill and Owen, when 
there is not a single animadversion on their writings 
in the whole MS. As to the former, I have not 
taken a single quotation from his writings, nor 
spoken a syllable about his sentiments, but barely 
written his name on a blank page for the purpose 
of transcribing something from him tending to con 
firm what I have written, when I should copy it 
again. As to the latter, I never met with any thing 
of importance in his writings on which I saw any 
reason to animadvert ; so far from it, that I know of 
no writer for whom I have so great an esteem ; it 
would be a faint expression for me to say I approve 
his principles I admire them. I suppose you saw 
the names of these worthies, and observed that I 
said or intended to say something about them, and 
you concluded it must be against them. This re 
minds me of an old Avoman who, hearing her clergy 
man frequently preach against popery, exclaimed, 
' Our parson is certainly a papish ; for he talks so 
much about the pope.' Alas ! into what misconstruc 
tions and misrepresentations will not a partial spirit 
insensibly betray us ! I believe if Drs. G. and O. 
were living, they would defend their principles against 
some things which certain writers since their death 
have attempted to father upon them : the same 
may be said of Dr. Ridgely ; I never saw more than 
one passage in his writings unfavourable to my 
views, and could produce twenty for them. 

" But I have ' treated the sacred Scriptures with 
partiality, by collecting those parts which suit my 
turn, and omitting others that clearly speak the 
Jews' and not my Ashdod language.' Truly, sir, I 
never thought it necessary to collect scriptures ir 
relative to the purpose for which I was writing. I 
suppose you would have had me occupy half the 
work in proving the doctrine of election, as Mr. 
Wayman did a doctrine believed by his antagonist 
as much as himself. I assure you, sir, I never ob 
served a studied silence of any one argument or 



scripture that might be thought to make against 
me. It seems, according to your account, that one 
part only of the Scripture speaks clearly and dis 
tinctly what you call the Jews' language. I used 
to think, sir, the Scriptures were all of a piece, but 
I understand you that part which does not agree 
with your creed does not speak Jews' language. 
This comes too from the pen of the man who in 
the same letter, and even the same sentence, was 
charging his friend with treating the sacred Scrip 
tures with partiality ! 

" You must go on, sir, if you choose, calling me 
Arminian, Baxterian, or any thing else it may please 
you best. These are things which I hope will not 
move me. I only say that though I verily believe 
it is every man's duty to be of a right spirit 
such a spirit as cordially to embrace whatever 
God makes known, yet such is my opinion of hu 
man nature, that I have not the most distant idea 
of either the probable or possible salvation of any 
one but those who ' according to God's purpose ' 
are ' made willing in the day of his power,' and 
this you must have fully known had you with any 
candour attended to what I have written. 

" I desire to seek both ' truth and peace,' and 
so far as 1 can enjoy the latter without sacrificing 
the former, I hope it will be one chief object of my 
pursuit. Should what I have written be published, 
and should any number of persons, instead of seri 
ously attending to evidence, take fire, call names, 
and set their churches in a flame and should they 
after this upbraid me with having ' stirred up divi 
sions in the churches,' for all or any of this I hope 
I shall never be thought accountable." 

This reply called forth a second and a third letter 
equally abusive ; but as for evidences, the demand 
for them is a mere " come off." " Are there not," 
he asks, " reasons enough, evidences in plenty, 
already extant ? " 

Mr. Fuller's polemical propensities were hardly 
strong enough to be attracted, by this sagacious re 
ference to " evidences already extant," to the con 
tinuance of a correspondence in which he could 
gain nothing but scurrility ; he therefore respect 
fully declined it. 

This correspondence would not have been thought 
deserving of notice, but that it fairly represents the 
temper, talents, and information of a large portion 
of the opposition it was Mr. Fuller's fate to encoun 
ter in private intercourse ; while no small degree of 
it actually struggled into print in the shape of vari 
ous pamphlets, some of which are fraught with dog 
gerel of the very lowest grade. 

It was refreshing amidst all this to find a few 
opponents capable of observing the rules of civilized 



CONTROVERSY ON FAITH. 



\liii 



intercourse, and of addressing themselves for the 
most part to the consideration of the points in dis 
pute ; such were the Rev. Messrs. Button, A. 
Booth, A. Maclean, and, on the Arminian side, 
Dan Taylor. It was a matter, however, of grave 
complaint, that much misconception and consequent 
misrepresentation of his views was to be found in 
each of their publications, a considerable portion of 
which was devoted to the elaborate proving of doc 
trines cordially received by their opponent; nor 
was there any thing in the course of his polemical 
career which furnished Mr. Fuller with so much 
cause of grief as the reiterated disingenuousness of 
conduct manifested towards him by a man so de 
servedly esteemed for learning, integrity, and holi 
ness of character, as Mr. Booth, between whom and 
himself there was moreover but a slight difference 
of opinion. The circulation of certain incorrect and 
injurious representations of Mr. Fuller's sentiments, 
the subsequent publication of the same after a dis 
tinct avowal of their incorrectness, and their re- 
publication after a serious and respectful letter of 
remonstrance, of which Mr. B. takes no notice, fur 
nish evidence of the power of prejudice over even 
an upright mind. Impartiality requires the admission 
that Mr. Fuller was, in more than one instance, 
chargeable with misrepresentation, the discovery of 
which was, however, followed by the most prompt 
and unqualified acknowledgment. " 

The reply to Mr. Button was accompanied by an 
answer to " Observations, &c., by Philanthropes," 
a work in which the Rev. D. Taylor attacks with 
considerable spirit and ingenuity the Calmnistic 
positions of " The Gospel worthy," &c. " It may 
appear somewhat extraordinary," says Mr. Fuller, 
in his reply, " that the same sentiment should be 
liable to opposition from gentlemen of such contrary 
principles as MR. BUTTOX and PHILA.NTHROPOS. 
It may be less surprising, however, when it is con 
sidered that there are certain points in which the 
most opposite extremes are known to meet. An 
attentive reader will perceive a great affinity in the 
tendency of their reasonings on various subjects. 
If I am not greatly mistaken, they both particularly 
agree in denying faith in Christ to be a duty re 
quired by the moral law : and in excusing the 
sinner, unless grace is bestowed upon him, in his 
noncompliance with ever thing spiritually good." 

The exceptions taken by Mr. Maclean were of a 
complexion different from either of those before 
stated, and were grounded on certain views of the 
nature of faith, and its priority to regeneration and 
repentance, peculiar to the bulk of the Baptist 
churches in Scotland and parts of Ireland. Mr. 
M. argued that Mr. Fuller's position of a holy 



change of heart being requisite in order to true faith 
in Christ, was " subversive of the great doctrine of 
justification by grace alone without the works of the 
law," and maintained that faith was a mere intel 
lectual exercise, ascribing to it, nevertheless, all the 
fruits of a holy principle. 

To this view of things Mr. Fuller first replied in 
an appendix to the second edition of his work, 
which, giving rise to further observations on the 
part of his opponent, resulted in the production of 
" Strictures on Sandemanianism, in Twelve Letters 
to a Friend," a work worthy alike of the talents of 
its author and of the powerful antagonist against 
whose writings it was directed. 

The controversy on faith, which in all its branches 
extended, with some intervals, to a period of more 
than twenty years, was by far the most considerable 
in which Mr. Fuller was engaged ; and it being 
that which was the most identified with his name, 
and which gave rise to the grossest misrepresentations 
of his character and views, especially in his own de 
nomination, no apology will be offered for the pe 
culiar prominence given to it in this memoir. 

A continuation of the diary from which extracts 
have already been made, while it exhibits the feel 
ings under which Mr. Fuller commenced and con 
tinued these engagements, will serve to fill up the 
portraiture of his character at this period of his life. 

" Aug. 10, 1784. Occupied in writing for the 
press some persuasives to united prayer for the re 
vival of real religion. 

" 20. Many misgivings of heart, about engaging 
in defence of what I esteem truth, lest the cause of 
Christ should be injured through me. Surely, if I 
did not believe that in defence of which L write to 
be important truth, I would hide my head in ob 
scurity all my days. 

" 21. Much pain at heart to-day, while reading 
in Dr. Owen. Feel almost a sacred reverence for 
his character. Surely I am more brutUh than any 
man, and have not the understanding of a man ! Oh 
that I might be led into Divine truth ! ' Christ 
and his cross be all my theme.' I love his name, 
and wish to make it the centre in which all the lines 
of my ministry should meet ! The Lord direct my 
way in respect of publishing. Assuredly he knows 
my end is to vindicate the excellence of his cha 
racter, and his worthiness of being loved and 
credited. 

" 23. The weight of publishing still lies upon 
me. I expect a great share of unhappiness through 
it. I had certainly much rather go through the 
world in peace, did I not consider this step as my 
duty. I feel a jealousy of myself, lest I should not 
be endued with meekness and patience sufficient for 



xliv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



controversy. The Lord keep me ! I wish to sus 
pect my own spirit, and go forth leaning on him fo 
strength. I heard yesterday that Mr. Willian 
Clarke is likely to come to Carlton ; the Lord gran 
he may ! Oh that I were of such a meek and lowly 
spirit as that good man ! 

"24. Some tenderness in prayer of late, ye 
fear lest I should be blasted in my ministry on ac 
count of my barrenness. Conversation with Mr. 
Toller on various subjects affecting to me. The 
Lord keep me and lead me into all truth. 

" 25. Enjoyed delight for some days in reading 
over the Acts of the Apostles before family prayer. 
Sweet times in that duty. 

>'26. I felt some tenderness to-day at the church- 
meeting ; but much depression of spirit generally 
now attends me. I feel a solid satisfaction that the 
cause in which I am about to engage is the cause 
of truth and righteousness ; but I am afraid lest it 
should suffer through me. 

"29. A very tender and affectionate time in 
prayer for the congregation, especially the young 
people. Finished expounding Christ's sermon on 
the mount. Some cautions I had given me to 
night I wish I may attend to. The Lord lead me 
into the spirit of the gospel, and keep me from 
extremes. 

" Sept. 3. Very earnest and fervent this even 
ing, preaching on love to Christ's salvation. Oh if 
God would but make use of it ! 

" 6. Feel myself vile before God. My vileness 
is as if it were restless, and could never be still 
night nor day. 

" 19. A. letter from Soham much depresses me 

to hear of their jarrings. Know not how to preach. 

"21. Occupied all day in writing letters into 

Cambridgeshire. Oh may God bless them to their 

good ! Very tender in writing them. 

" 22. Chiefly employed in preparing a MS. for 
the press on the obligations of men in respect to 
the gospel of Christ. Felt Borne pleasure in the 
sentiments I have written. 

* 26. Deeply affected this morning in thinking 
and preaching on the poor and needy seeking water 
and finding none, &c. Some tenderness too in the 
afternoon : this thought was moving, that our hard- 
ness of heart broke Christ's heart, and our stupidity 
made his soul exceedingly sorrowful, even unto 
death. 

4 - To-morrow, ministers' meeting ; the 
d meet with us. The ministers met to-night, it 
>eing the monthly exercise of prayer for the revival 
of religion. 

-Spent the day chiefly in the company of 
the ministers. Much depressed in spirit, 



and grieved at seeing such levity and wanton folly 
in a certain person. My heart is sick of all know 
ledge and accomplishments unless made to subserve 
the cause of the blessed Redeemer. How empty 
and frothy, unless sanctified by the grace of God ! 
Felt my heart go out in prayer for that person. 

" 18. Much depressed in spirit on account of 
my want of spirituality : prayed with tenderness of 
heart. Sensibly felt my entire dependence on the 
Spirit of God for the continuance of the work of 
grace as well as for the beginning of it. 

"21. Feel some pain in the thought of being 
about to publish On the Obligations of Men to 
Believe in Christ, as supposing I shall thereby 
expose myself to much abuse, which is disagreeable 
to the flesh. Had I not a satisfaction that it is the 
cause of God and truth, I would drop all thoughts 
of printing. The Lord keep me meek and lowly 
in heart. 

" 22. [In allusion to the termination of a do 
mestic trial] This day the Lord has been merciful. 
A saying of Mr. Hall, which I heard him use in 
prayer, has been much to me of late. ' Lord, we 
are bound this night to love thee more than ever 
we did before.' 

"24. I have many fears concerning certain 
flesh-pleasing doctrines lately agitated, particularly 
that of the final salvation of all, men and devils. 
I have no doubt" that this notion will have a great 
spread in twenty years' time, however contrary to 
the word of God, seeing it is what just suits the 
flesh. 

" 31. Preached this afternoon on the dimensions 
of the love of Christ. Great delight at the Lord's 
supper. Oh to know more of and live upon Christ ! 
must be our daily bread. Sweet pleasure to 
night. Can hardly forbear singing as I go about, 

" Oh for this love let rocks and hills 
Their lasting silence break," &c. 

" Nov. 12. Feel my mind earnestly engaged in 
onging for the salvation of souls ; earnest in prayer 
'or this. Oh what an awful thing it seems to me 
'or sinners under a fatal disease not to desire a 
remedy ! 

" 22. Walked to Northampton. Some prayer 
.hat God would bless that about which I am going, 
namely, the printing of a manuscript on faith in 
hrist being the duty of unregenerate sinners. 

" Dec. 18. Feel myself to-day a poor carnal 
wretch ! Casting my eye on ' Woe to the idol shep- 
ierd,' &c., thought that was my character. Reading 
n James, ' with meekness receive the ingrafted 
word,' methought there was something in that 
vhich I could not Teach. Felt my heart go up to 
that I might understand it. 






EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



xlv 



22. Some tender feelings under my frequent 
indisposition of body. Thought how I should bear 
it, if God should lay me by from the work of the 
ministry. 

"31. Deeply affected on Wednesday night, in 
pinning with little R. in my arms: 

' O mayst thou live to reach the place,' &c. 
If I should die before him, let him remember this, 
and S. the verses in the diary, &cc. 

" 1785, Jan. 2, Lord's day. Preached this af 
ternoon a new-year's sermon to young people, from 
Come, ye children,' &c. Some sweet and solemn 
feelings, as I sat in the vestry, while a hymn for the 
\ ear was sung : felt my heart very tender, and 
a longing desire for the welfare of the young peo 
ple : preached to them with some earnestness. Felt 
much also this day in reading Bunyarfs Holy 
Jl'ar, particularly that part where the four captains 
agree to petition the King for more force : felt a 
great satisfaction in my principles concerning 
preaching to sinners, and a desire to pray, like 
them, for help from on high, to render the word 
effectual. 

" 8. Much affected to-day in hearing my little 
girl say, ' How soon sabbath day comes again ! ' 
Felt grieved to see the native aversion of the carnal 
heart to God so early discovering itself. Was led 
to importune God at a throne of grace on her behalf. 
9. This evening expounded Acts vi. One verse 
in particular carries in it conviction to me : That 
we may give ourselves wholly to prayer and the 
ministry of the word. 

" 11. Some outgoings of heart in prayer to-day 
for the revival of real religion, first in my own soul, 
and then in the churches in general. My own 
mental departures from God have been long and 
great ! Went several times to the Lord, with some 
satisfaction, but found not such nearness of access 
as I could wish. 

14. Spoke to-night with some freedom on 
Psal. cxvi. 9, ' I will walk before the Lord,' &c. 
Explained it as consisting in viewing ourselves al 
ways as in God's sight, and not merely in the sight 
of creatures, whether godly or ungodly ; in striving 
to please God ; and in attending in a constant way 
to the most spiritual duties. Observed the good 
ness of the resolution ; because this course was safe, 
honourable, and happy. 

" Feb. 8. Visited Mr. Toller to-day, who has 
been very ill : some serious conversation with him 
on the importance of real religion in a dying hour. 

" 1 1 .Read part of the life of J. Janeway to-day, 
with much conviction and tenderness. O my life, 
how low to his ! 

" 13. Some earnestness to-day in preaching on 



j>rcaain!/ forward, and on the desire accomplished 
being sneet to the soul ; but little spirituality. 
Very earnest to-night in preaching from ' What will 
ye do in the end thereof ?' 

" 16. In the company of Christian friends. Some 
good conversation, but no free tender talk on things 

spiritual and experimental. I find Mr. and 

the people at carry their resentments very 

high, on account of what they reckon my erroneous 
principles. I need grace not so much at present to 
keep me from resenting again as to keep me from 
rejoicing in their iniquity. Undoubtedly they could 
not take measures that would more conduce to the 
reputation of what I have written and of what I 
preach, as well as to their own detriment. 

" 19. Feel an earnest desire that my mind might 
be well furnished with gospel sentiments. Found 
encouragement in observing several in the congre 
gation who are likely soon to join the church. 

"22. Tenderness in private prayer, attended 
with shame. An agreeable visit with Mr. B. W. 
at Mr. T.'s. Conversation very serious and profit 
able, chiefly on closet prayer and experimental 
subjects. 

" March 11. Feel a general lowness of spirits; 
partly occasioned by the bitter spirit of some neigh 
bouring ministers, respecting my late publication 
and my preaching ; and partly by sympathy with 
some of my friends under trials. 

16. Visited Mr. Toller to-day, and had some 
good conversation. 

"21. Have been somewhat stirred beyond due 
bounds to-day, in talking with a member of the 
church who has sinned. It would have been better 
for me to have thought more of myself, and to have 
spoken to him with more humility. 

" 25. Returning from Woodford, (where I 
preached last night, with earnestness and solemnity 
of spirit, on the ways of sin being movable, like 
those of the adulteress,) I was led into a profitable 
strain of meditation, on our good Shepherd's care of 
his flock, occasioned by seeing some lambs exposed 
to the cold, and a poor sheep perishing for want of 
care. 

"28. Some heaviness of heart, because some of 
my friends do not take that freedom with me which 
I wish they did ; at least it seems so to me. 

"April 19. Preached at Wellingborough, with 
some freedom, on Christ's commanding us to watch. 
Some conviction by conversing with Mr. Carver, 
whose carefulness not to circulate an evil report I 
admire. 

" 28. I find it is often observed that persons in 
my condition, without greater advantages as to 
learning, are generally apt to be more censorious 



xlvi 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



than others whose learning is far greater. I wish 
I may be always on the watch here. 

" 29. Somewhat unhappy to see the disrelish, as 
I think, of one of my friends to the doctrines of so 
vereign grace. Oh that I may not only believe the 
truth, but love it ! 

" 30. Thought to-day I could wish to die if I 
had but done my generation work. Last Monday 
I heard a young man at N. speak of the advantage 
of mixing prayer with reading the word. This 
morning I have been trying to read in that way. 
Read the second chapter of Hosea thus ; longing to 
use that sweet and holy freedom which the Lord 
designs to encourage, when he directs the church 
to call him not Baali, but Ishi. Oh that I could 
dwell nearer to God ! I fear some trials in the 
church ; but were I kept near to him, I should be 
able to bear any thing. 

" May 1. Found earnestness in preaching on 
the words of God doing good to the upright, and 
on Christ's being the same yesterday, to-day, and 
for ever. Felt my heart drawn out in prayer this 
morning that God would make some use of me for 
good. Praying that I might not labour in vain and 
spend my strength for nought, I felt a check of this 
kind What then is my labour, and of what account 
is my strength ? On this I found much outgoing 
of heart, in pleading Christ's merits as the ground, 
and the welfare of souls as the end. 

" 2. Returning from Brigstock, where I preach 
ed last night, some conversation with Mr. Porter, of 
Thrapston, makes me reflect on myself for impru 
dence. I feel how far off from a right spirit I often 
am. This evening I felt tender all the time of the 
prayer-meeting for the revival of religion ; but, in 
hearing Mr. Beeby Wallis pray for me, I was over 
come: his having a better opinion of me than I 
deserve cuts me to the heart! Went to prayer 
myself, and found my mind engaged more than 
ordinarily in praying for the revival of religion. I 
had felt many sceptical thoughts ; as though there 
were room to ask, What profit shall I have if I 
pray to God ? for which I was much grieved. Find 
a great satisfaction in these monthly meetings : even 
supposing our requests should not be granted, yet 
prayer to God is its own reward. Felt many bitter 
reflections for my stupid carnal way of living. 

' 8. Impressed this morning in thinking of the 
wants of the people, how they would probably be 
coming from many places round, in quest of spiritual 
food, while I was barren, and scarcely knew what to 
say to them. Affected in thinking of Micah vii., 
' Feed thy people with thy rod,' &c." 



After alluding to a journey to Soham, and 



giving 



the details of a week's exercise in preaching and 
conversation in that neighbourhood, he adds 

" June 2. To-day I go for home, laden with 
the burdens of others as well as some of my own. 

" 4. An uncommon load lies all day on my spi 
rits. I am incapable of all profitable meditation : 
feel pained for the people to-morrow. Some few 
exercises on subjection to the Father of spirits ; 
but very heavy in heart. 

" 5. Feel myself quite ill with sorrow of heart : 
had a very tender forenoon on the subject mentioned 
above ; but a poor wretched afternoon : very much 
depressed all day. 

" 6. But little exercise till towards night, when 
the sorrows of yesterday returned, and for two hours 
preyed upon my heart stronger than ever, so as to 
make me very ill. Darkness and confusion of mind 
overwhelm me. 

" 7. Engaged in writing out the circular letter 
on Declensions in Religion for the press : found 
some very tender feelings towards the latter part of 
it; and enjoyed a good deal of pleasure on the 
whole in writing it. 

" 14. Taken up with the company of Mr. Ro 
bert Hall, jun. : feel much pain for him. The Lord, 
in mercy to him and his churches in this country, 
keep him in the path of truth and righteousness. 

" 25. Some pain of mind through a letter from 

Mr. , of London, expressing his fears lest my 

publication should occasion some uncomfortable dis 
putes. Some outgoings of heart to God that this 
might not be. 

" But a poor day yesterday in meditation ; yet 
this day has been, I think, one of the best I have 
experienced for years. Most tenderly and earnestly 
affected, both in prayer and in preaching. In the 
morning I could scarcely go on for weeping, while 
preaching from Acts iv. 33, ' Great grace was upon 
them all ! ' Not quite so well in the afternoon, 
though I was upon the excellency of the know 
ledge of Christ. Yet I felt a sweet serenity at 
the Lord's supper, and spoke of it under the idea 
of a feast. 

" 29. Pleasant conversation with some persons 
newly awakened. Heard Dr. Addington to-night, 
on our light afflictions, with pleasure and profit ; 
but walked alone in the fields exceedingly discon 
solate. 

" July 3. Another exceedingly melting sabbath : 
very tender aud earnest in prayer, and in preaching 
on casting our care on the Lord ; and, in the after 
noon, on the caution given to glory, not in wisdom, 
strength, or riches, but in the knowledge of God. 
Preached in the evening from ' Turn away mine 
eyes from beholding vanity ; ' occasioned by my own 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



xlvii 



past exercises, and applied to the warning of peo 
ple against the vanities of the world, particularly 
against improper behaviour at their feast, which is 
to-morrow ; found great tenderness, particularly in 
warning the youth from the example of the young 
woman who lust week came to such an awful end. 

" 5. Rode to Walgrave ; somewhat discouraged 
to see disunion ; attempted a reconciliation, which 
I hope may be effected ; felt tender and much 
concerned. 

" 6. This morning a reconciliation was brought 
about, and Mr. Payne was ordained their pastor : 
Mr. Rylund, jun., delivered the charge, and I had 
much profit in hearing him. 

" 16. Some pleasure in thinking on God's power 
to do abundantly more than we can ask or think. 
Surely he had need have more power in giving than 
I have in asking. 

"25. I was much impressed this morning in 
reading Mason 8 Remains. Felt much affected 
and very solemn in prayer and conversing with a 
poor woman at Barton, who seems not likely to be 
here long, and is much in the dark as to her state. 

" Aug. 1 . Some affectionate emotions of heart 
in prayer to-night at the monthly prayer-meeting. 
Surely unbelief damps our near addresses to God, 
and something of that ungrateful suspicion which 
asks, ' What profit shall we have if we pray unto 
him ? ' lies at the bottom of our indifference in this 
duty. 

" 3. Chiefly employed to-day in visiting poor 
friends. I have been too deficient in this practice. 

" 4. Visited several more poor friends ; some 
conversation profitable ; but I mix all with sin. 

" 6. Some tenderness in thinking on Jonah iii. 
4, ' I said, I am cast out of thy sight ; yet will I 
look again,' &c. We have had some awful pro 
vidences of late. Mr. , a clergyman of C , 

has hanged himself, and a poor woman of B. seems 
in the very jaws of desperation. These things have 
led me to think on something that may be an anti 
dote to despair. 

" 8. Some exercises of mind this week through 
an advertisement of Dr. Withers, wherein I think 
he in a very vain manner threatens to reduce to dust 
my late publication. I wish 1 may be kept in a 
right spirit. I find myself, on seeing what I have 
hitherto seen, much subject to a spirit of contempt ; 
but I wish not to indulge too much of that temper. 
Doubtless, I am wrong in some things. I wish I 
may be all along open to conviction ; found some 
desires go up to heaven for such a spirit as this. 

" 26. A letter from Mr. Thomas* of Leominster, 

* It appears that this venerable minister afterwards fully 
embraced Mr. Fuller's views. 

d 



on the piece I lately published, has some effect upon 
my heart in a way of tender grief and fear. 

" Sept. 30. We had a ministers' meeting at 
Northampton. I preached, 'and brother Sutcliff, 
and brother Skinner. But the best part of the day 
was, I think, in conversation. A question was dis 
cussed, to the following purport : To what causes 
in ministers may much of their want of success 
be imputed? The answer turned chiefly upon the 
want of personal religion ; particularly the neglect 
of close dealing with God in closet prayer. Jer. x. 
2 1 was here referred to, ' Their pastors are become 
brutish, and have not sought the Lord ; therefore 
they shall not prosper, and their flocks shall be 
scattered.' Another reason assigned was the want 
of reading and studying the Scriptures more as 
Christians, for the edification of our own souls. 
We are too apt to study them merely to find out 
something to say to others, without living upon the 
truth ourselves. If we eat not the book, before we 
deliver its contents to others, we may expect the 
Holy Spirit will not much accompany us. If we 
study the Scriptures as Christians, the more fa 
miliar we are with them, the more we shall feel 
their importance ; but, if otherwise, our familiarity 
with the word will be like that of soldiers and doc 
tors with death it will wear away all sense of its 
importance from our minds. To enforce this sen 
timent, Prov. xxii. 17, 18 was referred to ' Apply 
thine heart to knowledge the words of the wise 
will be pleasant if thou keep them within thee ; they 
shall withal be fitted in thy lips.' To this might be 
added Psal. i. 2, 3. Another reason was, Our 
want of being emptied of self-sufficiency. In pro 
portion as we lean upon our own gifts, or parts, or 
preparations, we slight the Holy Spirit ; and no 
wonder that, being grieved, he should leave us to do 
our work alone. Besides, when this is the case, it 
is, humanly speaking, unsafe for God to prosper 
us, especially those ministers who possess consider 
able abilities. Reference was also had to an or 
dination sermon lately preached by Mr. Booth of 
London, to Mr. Hopkins, Dr. Giffbrd's successor, 
from ' Take heed to thyself.' Oh that I may re 
member these hints for my good ! 

" Oct. 3. Preached at Corby with much tender 
ness ; felt some encouragement on hearing of one 
person to whose conversion it is hoped my ministry 
has been made instrumental. 

" 7. Some tremor of mind in hearing that Dr. 
W.'s book is in the press. What I fear is lest his 
manner of writing should be provoking, and lest I 
should fall into an unchristian spirit. 

"9. A miserable afternoon. After sen-ice I 
was told of a young man, to whom I had been made 



xlviii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



useful about two years ago, having a desire to join 
the church. I have for some time felt a kind of de 
spair in preaching to sinners ; thinking that, on ac 
count of my being so carnally-minded, God would 
never bless any thing I said. This instance, and 
that of last Wednesday, seem to afford some en 
couragement, and to make me think that it is 
possible, however, for God to work even by me! 
and that when I think nothing can be done, then it 
is possible for God to work. I have long sown in 
tears : oh that I might, in some degree at least, 
reap in joy ! Preached at night with an unusual af 
fection of heart, and sense of everlasting things, 
from Job xvi. 22, 'When a few years are come,' &c. 
" 30. After baptizing several persons, preached 
on the fellowship of Christians affording joy to mi 
nisters, from Phil. i. 3 5. 

"Nov. 21. For above a fortnight past have 
been chiefly out on journeys. At Bedford, saw 
Mr. , of ; glad to see his spirit soften 
ed, and his prejudices, I hope, giving way. Much 
grieved to find the spirits of people about the neigh 
bourhood of G hurt by controversy. I find 
there are several whose conversation almost entirely, 
and on all occasions, turns on these subjects. It 
seems to be one of Satan's devices, in order to de 
stroy the good tendency of any truth, to get its ad 
vocates to hackney it out of its senses, dwelling 
upon it in every sermon or conversation, to the ex 
clusion of other things. Thus the glorious doc 
trines of free and great grace have been served 
in the last age, and so have fallen sadly into disre 
pute. If we employ all our time in talking about 
what men ought to be and to do, it is likely we 
shall forget to put it into practice, and then all is 
over with us. 

" Dec. 7. This week received a treatise written 
by Mr. Button in answer to mine. There seems to 
be an abundance of things in it very foreign from 
the point, and very little evidence. 

" 16. Set off for home with my little girl, who 
has been ill at Northampton. My heart greath 
misgives me. If God should take either of nr 
children from me, I seem as if I could scarcely sus 
tain it. On this account I have many fears. Oh 
I could give up their bodies, but I want to see 
piety reigning in their souls, before they go henc 
and are no more seen. I tried, as I rode home, to 
converse with my child, and to instil religious prin 
ciples into her mind. Oh that God would bless m> 
endeavours to that end ! 

" 18- To-day I had a very tender forenoon, in 
preaching from Jer. 1. 4, 5. Oh how my heart wen 
forth in desire after the salvation of souls, for som 
of the greatest of sinners ; particularly for a poo 



n-etched young woman, the daughter of one of our 
oembers. She had been, through her own wicked 
onduct, kept away from public worship for a year 
ast. I lately heard that she was in a state of de- 
pair, and had resolved never to come to meeting 
gain. But this morning she appeared in the meet- 
ng. The sight of her much affected me, and was 
he means of a very tender forenoon. In the after- 
loon, I preached on the great things of God's law 
)eing counted as strange things; but, alas! my 
leart seems as strange and as alien from the spirit 
>f true religion as any thing I can talk about ! Oh 
what a poor mutable creature am I ! Somewhat re- 
'ived to-night in hearing more about a Mrs. D. I 
hope she is a godly woman. I find she had a 
daughter who died about twelve months ago, and 
vho gave strong evidence of her piety while her fa- 
,her and mother were in ignorance. The mother 
now says that she believes the means of her daugh 
ter's conversion was her attending on a child's bu 
rial, with some other children, and hearing me 
speak to the young people present on that occasion. 
It seems a strange thing that God should do any 
thing by me ! 

" 1786, Jan. 1. Some painful reflections in 
thinking on my vast deficiencies. Another year is 
gone, and what have I done for God ? Oh that my 
life were more devoted to God ! I feel as if I could 
wish to set out afresh for heaven, but, alas ! my 
desires seem but too much like those of the sluggard. 
" 8. Very earnest this morning in public prayer. 
Oh that God may work on the minds of our youth 
and children ! I hope there is somewhat of a work 
of God going on amongst us. I have been visited 
by a young man who gives very promising evidence 
of being a subject of true religion, so far as can be 
judged by a conversation. Also a young woman 
has been with me who appears to be very tender 
hearted, meek, and lowly in mind. Exceedingly 
distressed on Wednesday night. I fear God will 
take away my child. I have reason to fear some 
awful chastisement is at hand, either spiritual or 
temporal. Methought I was like the Israelites, 
who had little or no heart to call upon God except 
in times of trouble. I tried, however, to pray to 
him now. I think I could willingly submit to God 
in all things, and bear whatever he should lay upon 
me, though it were the loss of one of the dear parts 
of myself, provided I could but see Christ formed 
in her. I know also that I have no demand on the 
Lord for this ; but surely I ought to bless his name 
that he does not require me to be willing to be lost 
myself, or that this should be the end of any whom 
he has put under my care. The chief exercise of 
my mind this week has been respecting my poor 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



xlix 



child. Methonght I felt some resignation to Divine 
Providence. ' The Lord liveth, and blessed be my 
rock.' 

" 19. I hear that a piece is coming out, agaiu>t 
what I have written, on the Arminian side. I have 
no fears as to the cause itself, but many as to my 
capacity to defend it. 

"20. Had some very affecting conversation 
with Miss M. W. I feel reluctant in being obliged 
to attend to controversy. My heart seems to delight 
in my work, and 1 hope the Lord, in some measure, 
is owning it. 

" This week I received Dr. Withers's treatise 
against what I have written. What horrid senti 
ments does he advance ! 

"Feb. 5. Our dear little girl has this week 
much alarmed our fears. On Thursday morning 
the measles came out : we hope the illness may be 
carried off hereby. As I sat by her that morning 
alone, she requested me to pray with her, saying, 
though she was greatly afflicted with pain, yet she 
would try to lie still. I did so, and found some 
tenderness of heart on her behalf. My mind is 
generally much engaged now in perusing the trea 
tises which are published against what I have writ 
ten. This morning I received another, written by 
Mr. Dan Taylor. 

" 6. Monday. I read the above piece. The 
author discovers an amiable spirit, and there is a 
good deal of plausibility in some things that he ad 
vances. My mind has been much employed all the 
week on this piece. The more I examine it, the 
more I perceive that it is open to a solid and effect 
ive reply. 

"10. Some edifying conversation this morning 
with Mr. Jones, a clergyman lately come to Creaton. 

" 12. Great are the mercies of the Lord towards 
us, who has now given me another daughter. 
Mercy and judgment both visit us. Now my fears 
chieHy turn on the child that is afflicted. 

"19. My sabbaths, I fear, are spent to little 
purpose, I have so little love to God and the souls 
of men ; but I felt much impressed to-night in 
catechising the children. I thought and spoke to 
them about my own dear little girl. 

"26. Except Thursday, all this week has been 
miserably spent ! I sin against God repeatedly, and 
yet remain wretchedly insensible. I tremble at 
myself, and have reason to do so much more. 

" April 16. For this month past I have had 
great exercise of heart, on account of my poor little 
daughter. Sometimes pleading hard with God on 
her account ; at other times ready to despair, fearing 
God would never hear me. 

"Lord's day, March 19, was a distressing day 
d 2 



to me. My concern for the loss of her body is but 
trifling, compared with that of her soul. I prea< bed 
and prayed much, from Matt. xv. 25, ' Lord, help 
me ! ' on Monday I carried her towards Northamp 
ton ; was exceedingly distressed that night ; went 
to prayer with a heart almost broken. Some en 
couragement from conversation with dear brother 
Ryland. I observed that ' God had not bound 
himself to hear the prayers of any one for the sal 
vation of the soul of another.' He replied, ' But 
if he has not, yet he frequently does so ; and hence, 
perhaps, though grace docs not run in the Hood, 
yet we frequently see it runs in the line. Many 
more of the children of God's children are gracious 
than of others.' I know neither I nor mine have 
any claim upon the Almighty for mercy ; but as 
long as there is life, it shall be my business to im 
plore his mercy towards her. 

" Methought I saw, on Tuesday, (21,) the vanity 
of all created good. I saw, if God were to cut off 
my poor child, and not to afford me some extraordi 
nary support under the stroke, that I should be 
next to dead to the whole creation, and all creation 
dead to me ! Oh that I were but thus dead, as Paul 
was, by the cross of Christ. 

" On the 27th, riding towards Northampton, I 
think I felt greater earnestness and freedom with 
God than I ever had before in this matter. I seemed 
likewise more willing to leave her in the hands of 
God. Some tender opportunities in prayer with 
her and for her. I now feel more of an habitual 
resignation to God. If I could take the reins into 
my own hand, I would not. I feel a satisfaction that 
my times, and the times of all that pertain to me, 
are in the Lord's hands. This also I have felt all 
along, never to desire the life of the child, unless 
it be for her present and eternal good. Unless she 
should live to the Lord, I had rather, if it please 
God, she might not live at all. 

" To-day I felt some encouragement in my work 
from hearing of a young man hopefully converted 
in hearing me preach. 

" My time and attention are now much taken up 
with my poor little girl, particularly on the 28th. 
Exceedingly affected and importunate with God in 
prayer for her. I felt, indeed, the force of those 
words, ' To whom shall we go ? thou hast the words 
of eternal life.' Oh of what worth to an immortal 
creature, subject to eternal death ! My heart seem 
ed to be dissolved in earnest cries for mercy. 

" May 7. I was tolerably supported under the 
approaching death of my poor child, winch I saw 
drawing on apace. I saw I must shortly let her fall. 
With floods of tears, with all the bitterness of an 
afflicted father mourning for his first-born, I com- 



1 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



milled her lo God, lo his everlasting arms, when 
she should fall from mine. 

"21. Dealh! Dealh is all around me! My 
friends die. Three I have buried wilhin a fortnighl, 
and another I shall have to bury soon ! Death and 
judgment are all I can think about ? At times I 
feel reconciled to whatever may befall me. I am not 
without good hopes of the child's piety, and as to her 
life, desirable as it is, the will of the Lord be done. 

" 30. But at other times I am distressed beyond 
due bounds. On the 25th, in particular, my dis 
tress seemed beyond all measure. I lay before the 
Lord, weeping like David, and refusing to be com 
forted. This brought on, I have reason to think, a 
bilious cholic ; a painful affliction it was, and the 
more so as it prevented my ever seeing my child 
alive again! Yes, she is gone! On Tuesday 
morning, May 30, as I lay ill in bed in another 
room, I heard a whispering. I inquired, and all 

were silent all were silent ! but all 

is well. I feel reconciled to God ! I called my 
family round my bed. I sat up, and prayed as well 
as I could ; I bowed my head and worshipped, and 
blessed a taking as well as a giving God. 

" June 1. I just made a shift to get up to-day, 
and attend the funeral of my poor child. My dear 
brother Ryland preached on the occasion, from 2 

* A narrative of this interesting child was written by her 
father, but as it contains little more than a detail of the events 
which are recorded in a more impressive form in the above 
diary, it will only be necessary to give the following extract : 
" At the time of her birth I committed her to God, as I trust I 
have done many times since. Once in particular viewing her as 
she lay smiling in the cradle, at the age of eight months, my 
heart was much affected ; I took her up in my arms, retired, 
and in that position wrestled hard with God for a blessing ; at 
the same time offering her up as it were and solemnly pre 
senting her to the Lord for acceptance. In this exercise I was 
greatly encouraged by the conduct of Christ towards those who 
brought little children in their arms to him for his blessing." 
Speaking of her residence a short time at Northampton, he 
add*, " During this fortnight I went two or three times to 
see her; and one evening, being with her alone, she asked me 
to pray for her. ' What do you wish me to pray for, my dear ? ' 
said I. She answered, 'That God would bless me, and keep 
me, and save my soul.' ' Do you think, then, that you are a 
tinner? ' ' Yes, father.' Fearing lest she did not understand 
what she said, I asked her, 'What is sin, my dear?' She 
answered, ' Telling a story." I comprehended this, and it 
went to my heart. 'What, then,' I said, 'you remember, do 
you, my having corrected you once for telling a story ? ' ' Yes, 
father.' And are you grieved for having so offended God ? ' 
' Yet, father.' I asked her if she did not try to pray herself. 
She answered, ' I sometimes try, but I do not know how to 
pray ; I wish you would pray for me, till I can pray for myself.' 
As I continued to sit by her, she appeared much dejected. I 
asked her the reason. She said, ' I am afraid I should go to 
hell.' ' My dear,' said I, ' who told you so ? ' ' Nobody,' said 
he, ' but I know if I do not pray to the Lord, I must go to 
hell.' I then went to prayer with her, with many tears. 
"She was accustomed to pray over the hymn which Mr. 



Kings iv. 26,' It is well.' I feel, in general now, 
a degree of calm resignation. I think there is solid 
reason to hope that she has not lived in vain ; and 
if she is but reared for God, it matters not when she 
died. I feel a solid pleasure in reflecting on our 
own conduct in her education ; we endeavoured to 
bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the 
Lord, and I trust our endeavours were not in vain. 
Her visit to Northampton, too, was blessed for her 
good ; she has certainly discovered ever since great 
tenderness of conscience, and much of the fear of 
God ; great regard for the worship of God, espe 
cially for the Lord's day; and great delight in 
reading, especially accounts of the conversion of 
some little children. But all is over now, and I am 
in a good degree satisfied. 

3. To-day I felt a sort of triumph over death. 

I went and stood on her grave with a great deal of 
composure ! Returned, and wrote some verses to 
her memory. 

" 4. Had a good day in preaching on these 
light afflictions. My mind seems very calm and 
serene, in respect of the child ; but, alas ! I feel 
the insufficiency of trouble, however heavy, to de 
stroy or mortify sin. I have had sad experience of 
my own depravity, even while under the very rod 
of God ! * 

Ryland composed for her.* I used to carry her in my arms 
into the fields, and there talk with her upon the desirableness 
of dying and being with Christ, and with holy men and women, 
and with those holy children who cried, Hosanna to the Son of 
David. Thus I tried to reconcile her, and myself with her, to 
death, without directly telling her she would soon die. One 
day, as she lay in bed, I read to her the last eight verses of 
Rev. vii., ' They shall hunger no more, nor thirst, &c.' I said 
nothing upon it, but wished to observe what effect the passage 
might have upon her; I should not have wondered if she had 
been a little cheered by it. She said nothing, however, but 
looked very dejected. I said, 'My dear, you are unhappy.' 
She was silent. I urged her to tell me what was the matter. 
Still she was silent. I then asked her whether she was afraid 
she should not go to that blessed world of which 1 had been 
reading ? She answered, ' Yes.' ' But what makes you afraid, 
my dear ? ' ' Because (said she, with a tone of grief that 
pierced me to the heart) I have sinned against the Lord.' 
' True, my dear, (said I,) you have sinned against the Lord; 
but the Lord is more ready to forgive you, if you are grieved 
for offending him, than I can be to forgive you when you are 
grieved for offending me ; and you know how ready I am to do 
that.' I then told her of the great grace of God, and the love of 
Christ to sinners. I told her of his mercy in forgiving a poor 
wicked thief, who, when he was dying, prayed to him to save his 
soul. At this she seemed cheered, but said nothing. 

" A few weeks before she died, she asked her aunt to read to 
her. ' What shall I read, my dear ? ' said her aunt. ' Read 
(said she) some book about Christ. 1 Her aunt read part of the 
twenty-first chapter of Matthew, concerning the children who 
shouted Hosanna to the Son of David." She died May 30, 
1786, aged six years and a half. 

The well-known hymn" Lord, teach a little child to pray," &c. 



LETTERS ON THE DEATH OF HIS DAUGHTER. 



H 



" 6. Rode to Northampton, to our annual asso 
ciation. I am glad to find the state of the churches 
upon the whole encouraging. The next day I and 
Mr. Hopper and Mr. Sutcliff preached; but I wanted 
more spirituality. 

" 8. We had a very affecting time in communi 
cating experiences. For my part, I fear something 
more awful than the death of the child awaits me. 
Though I have been in the fire, yet my dross is not 
removed ; nay, it seems to be increased. My fami 
ly is afflicted nearly throughout ! ' For all this his 
anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched 
out still.' 

"11. Lord's day. Had a good day, on the Lord's 
giving us peace by all means. I know not how I 
go on. On the Lord's days I am tender-hearted, 
and seem disposed to lie low before God, and to be 
more watchful and spiritual ; but, alas, how soon do 
I forget God ! I have a fountain of poison in my 
very nature. Surely I am as a beast before thee ! 
I have been preaching at Moulton and Harding- 
stone this week, and seemed to feel at both places ; 
and yet I am far from a spiritual frame of mind. 
Had a pretty good clay, in preaching from Jer. xxxi. 
2, ' The people that were left of the sword found 
grace in the wilderness.' I heard last week that 
Mr. Hall, of Arnsby, had been preaching from 
Prov. xxx. 2, ' Surely I am more brutish than any 
man,' &cc. I am sure that passage is more applica 
ble to me than it can be to him ; I therefore preached 
from it to-day. At night I preached a very search 
ing discourse, from Lam. iii. 40, chiefly for the pur 
pose of self- conviction." 

Several leaves are here wanting, which have been 
destroyed ; nor is any further entry made for up 
wards of three years. 



* 



The following short extracts from letters written 
to Dr. Ryland, during the illness of the child, will 

read with interest : 

; ' I have, for a day or two past, been greatly 
afraid of her recovering just so much as to raise my 
expectations, so that I should have all the work to 
do over again. But perhaps that is best. If there is 
a need be for trials, then there is a need for such 
circumstances to attend the events which befall us 
as shall make them trials. And one of David's 
trials was, ' Thou hast lifted me up and cast me 
down.' I feel, however, how much I am indebted 
to mercy for many things which attend this afflic 
tion. I sometimes think how if my two other 
children should be left, and grow up wicked, and 
then be cut off like Eli's sons ! Ah, in many of my 
prayers / know not wliat I ask. May God in 



mercy do that for me and those that pertain to me 
which is best ! I feel a sweet satisfaction in the 
reins being in his hand, the government upon his 
shoulders. I have just now been preaching from 
Matt. xx. 20 24. I fear I am not yet able to 
drink the cup, and if not to drink the cup, perhaps 
I am less able to bear a deliverance from it. 

" Yesterday my wife had pretty much talk with her, 
and seemed much satisfied of her piety, and resigned 
to her death. For my part, I feel very different 
at different times. But generally speaking, except 
when my feelings are attacked by the child's heavy 
afflictions, or any fresh symptom of death, I find a 
far greater degree of composure and resignation to 
God than ever I could have expected. I can easily 
see it may be best for us to part. I have been long 
praying, in I know not what manner, that I might 
be brought nearer to God; find some particular 
evils in my heart subdued ; have my mind enlarged 
in experimental knowledge, and my heart more 
neaned from things below, and set on things above. 
Perhaps by ' terrible things in righteousness' God 
may answer these petitions. Oh that it may be so 
indeed ! I feel, however, that it must be something 
more than affliction to effect that ! I have long 
found, to my shame, that though drawing and living 
near to God are the happiest things in the world, 
yet such is the carnality of my heart, that I have 
long been in a habit of despairing of ever attaining 
them. I have often, of late, said of holiness what 
Solomon said of wisdom ' I thought to be holy, 
but it was far from me.' 

" Some time ago I spoke at a child's grave, and 
addressed the children. It appears that a little girl 
was wrought upon, who is since dead. At that 
time her father and mother were very ignorant. 
She talked much to them before her death. I hope 
the Lord has lately wrought upon her mother. 
She seems very tender-hearted, and in real earnest 
after the salvation of her soul. Her husband 
has opposed her coming to meeting, but in vain. 
He beat her, but to no purpose. He then despaired, 
and began to think her right and himself wrong. 
' If it had not been of God,' said he, ' I had over 
come it before now.' The man invited me to visit 
his wife. I went, expecting him to dispute with 
me, as he had threatened to stop me in the street 
for that purpose : accordingly I gave him an oppor 
tunity ; but, says the poor man, ' I have done with 
that now, my chief concern is, What must / do to 
be saved ? ' I cannot tell how it may issue as to 
him ; he comes sometimes to meeting, and some 
times goes to hear Mr. Lydiat, at Warkton. Last 
Tuesday I was visited by a lad, who has lately 
been observed to weep very much under the word. 



iii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



He appears to have every mark of true and deep 
contrition, and says a sermon I preached, two or 
three months ago, on sinners being under the curse 
of the Almighty, was first of use to him. The Lord 
carry on his work ! 

" Last night I preached a funeral sermon for one 
person, and buried two others within nine days. 
Can I be supposed to be otherwise than dejected ? 
We attend all we can to our own health, but is it to 
be wondered at that we should be sensibly affected 
and very ill ? To nurse a child with her afflictions is 
great work for the hands ; but to nurse altogether 
without hope is far greater work for the heart. 
But the hope of a better world.' True and I 
never felt the worth of that consideration so much 
as now. Ten thousand worlds seem nothing in 
consideration of the hope of the gospel. Surely I 
know something more than I did of the meaning of 
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift ! ' and, 
' Underneath are the everlasting arms ! ' with many 
other passages. And yet, after all, oh what shall I 
say ? I am not without hope hope, as I said, with 
which I would not part for ten thousand worlds ; 
but I have as well painful fears. My dear brother, 
the matter is of too great importance to be thought 
of lightly. However, the nearer I am to God, the 
better it is with me. I thought last night it was 
some relief that God had enjoined us to train up 
our children in the nurture and admonition of the 
Lord. Methought there was never a command but 
what had a promise connected with it ; for God does 
not say to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in 
vain. I also felt some satisfaction in reflecting on 
my conduct towards the child, and thought of the 
psalmist's words ' Lord, I have hoped in thy sal 
vation, and have done thy commandments.' 

" I enjoy great satisfaction and pleasure when 
ever I think of her being at Northampton. If there 
is any change in her, I think your conversation, or 
the instructions she received at Northampton, were 
the means. Those few verses you wrote for her 
she will still repeat, though obliged to rest, for want 
of breath, between almost every word. She says, 
4 Mr. Ryland told me, when I had got them, he 
would make me some more,' and requested I would 
write to you for them." 

Mr. Fuller thus resumes his diary : 

" October 3, 1789. For above a year and a half 
I have written nothing. It has seemed to me that 
my life was not worth writing. Two.or three years 
ago my heart began wretchedly to degenerate from 
God. Soon after my child Sally died, I sunk into 
ft sad state of lukewarmness ; and have felt the ef 



fects of it ever since. I feel at times a longing after 
the lost joys of God's salvation ; but cannot recover 
them. I have backslidden from God ; and yet I may 
rather be said to be habitually dejected on account 
of it than earnestly to repent of it. I find much 
hardness of heart, and a spirit of inactivity has laid 
hold of me. I feel that to be carnally-minded is 
death. My spiritual enemies have been too much 
for me. Some time ago I set apart a day for fasting 
and prayer, and seemed to get some strength in 
pleading with God. The very next day, as I re 
member, I found my heart so wandering from God, 
and such a load of guilt contracted, that I was af 
frighted at my own prayer the preceding day, lest it 
should have provoked the Lord to punish me, by 
leaving me so suddenly ; and I have not set apart a 
day to fast and pray since. But surely this was 
one of Satan's devices, by which I have been im 
posed upon. Perhaps, also, I trusted too much to 
my fasting and praying, and did not, on that account, 
follow it with sufficient watchfulness. 

"In the month of May I preached with some 
feeling from Job xxix. 2, ' Oh that it were with me 
as in months past,' &c. ! During this summer, I have 
sometimes thought what joy Christians might pos 
sess in this world, were they but to improve their 
opportunities and advantages. What grounds of 
joy does the gospel afford ! What joy was possessed 
by the primitive Christians ! I have preached two 
or three times upon these subjects. Once from 
John xv. 1 1 , ' These things have I spoken unto 
you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your 
joy might be full ! ' Another time from Neh. viii. 
10, ' The joy of the Lord is your strength.' And 
again, from Mark xi. 24, ' Whatsoever things ye 
desire when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive 
them, and ye shall receive them : ' in which the 
chief sentiment on which I insisted was, that confi 
dence in God's goodness mas necessary to our 
success in prayer. Another time I preached from 
' Count it all joy when ye fall into divers tempt 
ations.' 

" These subjects have tended sometimes to make 
me long after that joy and peace in believing which 
I have heretofore found. But joy of heart is a feel 
ing I cannot yet recover." 

" January 20, 1790. During the last quarter of 
a year I seem to have gained some ground in spi 
ritual things. I have read some of Jonathan Ed 
ward's sermons, which have left a deep impression 
on my heart. I have attended more constantly than 
heretofore to private prayer, and feel a little renew 
ed strength. Sometimes also I have been much af 
fected in public prayer, particularly on Monday, 
January the 4th, at the monthly prayer-meeting. 1 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



liii 



felt much afraid lest some uncomfortable debates 
which we have had in the church, though now 
finished, should have grieved the Holy Spirit, and 
quenched our affection for each other, and so lest 
our spiritual welfare as a church should be essen 
tially injured. 

" Sometimes I have been discouraged, and afraid 
that God would never bless me again. In my 
preaching, though I am at times affected with what 
I pay, yet, as to doing good to others, I go on as if 
I had no hope of it. Repeated disappointments, 
and long want of success, make me feel as if I were 
not to expect success. 

" Last Friday evening I was affected with the 
subject of Divine withdrawment , and especially 
with the thought of being contented in such a state. 
If we lose our daily bread we cannot live ; if we 
lose our health we are miserable ; if we lose a dear 
friend we are the same : and can we lose the bread 
of life, the health of our souls, and the best friend 
of all, and be unconcerned ? Last Lord's day I 
preached upon the desirableness of nearness to 
God, from Psal. xxvii. 9 ' Hide not thy face from 
me ; put not thy servant away in anger ; thou hast 
been my help ; leave me not, neither forsake me, O 
God of my salvation.' 

"Feb. 16. For these last three weeks I have 
too much again relapsed into a kind of thoughtless 
ness. I have felt a little in preaching, but not 
much. One day I was looking over Dr. Owen on 
the Mortification of Sin. Speaking of the evil of 
sin in the soul unmortified, he says, ' It will take 
away a man's usefulness in his generation. His 
works, his endeavours, his labours seldom receive a 
blessing from God. If he be a preacher, God com 
monly blows upon his ministry, so that he shall la 
bour in the fire, and not be honoured with success.' 
This, in a great degree, is realized in me. 

" March 27. Some weeks ago I thought I felt 
myself to gain ground by closet prayer ; but I have 
lately relapsed again too much into indifference. 
Yesterday I read Jonathan Edwards' 8 two ser 
mons On the Importance of a thorough Know 
ledge of Divine Truth, from Heb. v. 12. I felt 
this effect, a desire to rise earlier, to read more, 
and to make the discovery of truth more a business. 
This morning I have read another of his sermons, 
on God the CJiristian's Portion, from Psal. Ixxiii. 
25. The latter part comes very close, and I feel 
myself at a loss what to judge as to God's being my 
chief good. He asks, whether we had rather live 
in this world rich, and without God, or poor and 
with him ? Perhaps I should not be so much at a 
loss to decide this question as another ; namely, had 
I rather be rich in this world, and enjoy but little 



of God ; or poor, and enjoy much of God ? I am 
confident the practice of great numbers of profess 
ing Christians declares that they prefer the former ; 
and in some instances I feel guilty of the same 
thing. 

" In the course of this summer (1790) I have 
sometimes enjoyed a tenderness of heart in preach 
ing. On June 27th, at the Lord's supper, I was 
affected with this subject, ' Do this in remembrance 
of me.' I was also greatly affected on Sept. 5, 
in preaching from Gal. vi. 7, ' Whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap.' But yet in general 
I have but little of the joys of salvation. I do not 
feel tempted to evil as heretofore, but yet all is not 
right. ' Oh for a closer walk with God ! ' 

" At the close of this year the review of my life 
afforded me neither pleasure nor what may be call 
ed pain ; but rather a kind of discouragement too 
common of late with me. 

" From last April I have been expounding the 
book of Psalms, and sometimes have enjoyed plea 
sure therein." 

" 1791. In the spring of this year there appear 
ed a religious concern among some of our young 
people. I proposed to meet them once a week at 
the vestry, to talk and pray with them. I hope this 
has been of use both to me and them. I find there 
are some hopeful appearances at Northampton. 
The Lord revive his own work. 

" I feel some return of peace, but am not as I 
would be. Reading Owen on Spiritual-minded- 
ness, I feel afraid lest all should not be right with 
me at last. What I have of spirituality, as I ac 
count it, seems rather occasional than habitual. 

" Towards the latter end of this summer, I heard 
of some revival of religion about Walgrave and 
Guilsborough; and that the means of it were their 
setting apart days for fasting and prayer. Hence 
I thought we had been long praying for the revival 
of God's cause, and the spread of the gospel among 
the heathen, &c., and perhaps God would begin with 
us at home first. I was particularly affected with 
this thought, by finding it in the 67th Psalm, which 
I was expounding about the same time : Oh that 
God's being merciful to us, and blessing us, might 
be the means of his way being made known upon 
earth, and his saving health among all nations ; at 
least among a part of them. 

" Oh to be spiritually alive among ourselves ! 
One Monday evening, I think in October, I told our 
friends of some such things, and prayed with them 
with more than usual affection. I was particularly 
encouraged by the promise of giving the Holy Spi 
rit to them that ask. Surely if ever I wrestled 
with God in my life I did so then, for more grace, 



liv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



for forgiveness, for the restoration of the joys of 
salvation ; and that not only for myself, but for the 
generality of Christians among us, whom I plainly 
perceived to be in a poor lukewarm state, when 
compared with the primitive Christians. I have 
lately been reading several Socinian writers ; viz. 
Lindsey, Priestley, Belsham, &c., and have em- 
ployed myself in penning down thoughts on the 
moral tendency of their system. I felt an increas 
ing aversion to their views of things, and feel the 
ground on which my hopes are built more solid than 
heretofore. 

" The 27th of December I set apart for fasting 
and prayer. I felt tender in the course of the day. 
Thought with some encouragement of Psal. cxix. 
176, ' I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek 
thy sen-ant, for I do not forget thy commandments.' 
I employed a considerable part of the day in reading 
over Owen on the Mortification of Sin. A review 
of the past year, and of several past years, tended 
to humble me. 

" I felt tender on Friday evening, Dec. 30, in 
addressing my friends from Psal. xc. 14, on the 
mercy of God as the origin of all solid joy. 

" 1792. This year was begun, or nearly so, 
with a day of solemn fasting and prayer, kept by us 
as a church. It was a most affecting time with me 
and many more. Surely we never had such a spirit 
of prayer amongst us ! 

" On the 2d of April we lost our dear and worthy 
deacon, Mr. Beeby Wallis.* The next church 
meeting was kept as a day of solemn fasting anc 
prayer, and a very tender occasion it was. During 
this and the last year we have had a good deal o: 
religious concern among the young people of the 
congregation. I set up a private meeting in which 
I might read and pray and converse with them, anc 
have found it good both to them and me. This 
spring several of them joined the church. 

" June 1. I seem to have trials before me in the 
afflictions of my family. It has of late been a 
thought which has much affected me, that our con 
duct in this world under the various afflictions am 
temptations of life is the seed of eternity ! Have 
dwelt upon these thoughts in preaching from Matt 
vi. 19, 20. 

" It was a thought, likewise, which lately strucl 
me, that we have no more religion than rohat ro 

* Some interesting particulars of this excellent man will b 
found in a funeral sermon, entitled " The Blessedness of th 
Dead who die in the Lord." See p. 553. 

The following inscription, by Mr. Fuller, was placed on 
tomb, which stands under a sycamore, planted by his ow 
hand : 

Kind sycamore, preserve beneath thy shade 
The precious dust of him who cherished thee ; 






,ave in times of trial. On this subject I preached 
rom Exod. xvi. 4. It seems as if these things were 
preparative to a time of trial to me. 

" July 10. My family afflictions have almost 
verwhelmed me, and what is yet before me I know 
lot ! For about a month past the affliction of my 
3ear companion has been extremely heavy. On 
eading the fourth chapter of Job this morning, the 
3d, 4th, and 5th verses affected me. ' My words 
have upholden many. Oh that now I am touched I 
may not faint ! ' 

" 25. O my God, my soul is cast down within 
me ! The afflictions in my family seem too heavy 
or me. O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for 
! My thoughts are broken off, and all my pros 
pects seem to be perished ! I feel, however, some 
support from such scriptures as these : ' All things 
work together for good,' &c. ' God, even our own 
God, shall bless us.' ' It is of the Lord's mercies 
that we are not consumed.' One of my friends ob 
served, yesterday, that it was difficult in many cases 
to know wherefore God contended with us. But I 
thought that there was no difficulty of this kind 
with me. I have sinned against the Lord ; and it 
is not a little affliction that will lay hold of me. 
Those words have impressed me of late : ' It was in 
my heart to chastise them.' 

A record of the death of his amiable and pious 
wife forms the last entry in the diary for nearly two 
years. The following affecting letter to her father, 
Mr. Gardiner, furnishes the melancholy details of 
the concluding scene : 

" DEAR AND HONOURED FATHER, Au s- 2 s . 1792- 
" You have heard, I suppose, before now, that my 
dear companion is no more ! For about three months 
back our afflictions have been extremely heavy. About 
the beginning of June she was seized with hysterical 
affections, which, for a time, deprived her of her 
senses. In about a week, however, she recovered 
them, and seemed better ; but soon relapsed again ; 
and during the months of July and August, a very 
few intervals excepted, her mind has been constantly 
deranged. In this unhappy state, her attention has 
generally been turned upon some one object of dis 
tress; sometimes that she had lost her children; 
sometimes that she should lose me. For one whole 
day she hung about my neck, weeping ; for that I 

Nor thee alone ; a plant to him more dear 

He cherished, and with fostering hand upreared. 

Active and generous in virtue's cause, 

With solid wisdom, strict integrity, 

And unaffected piety, he lived 

Beloved amongst us, and beloved he died. 

Beneath an Allon-bachuth Jacob wept ; 

Beneath thy shade we mourn a heavier loss. 



DEATH OF MRS. FULLER. 



was going to die, and leave her ! The next morn- 
iii!_ r she still retained the same persuasion ; but, in 
stead of weeping for it, she rejoiced with exceeding 
joy. ' My husband,' said she, ' is going to heaven 

and all is well ! I shall be provided for,' 

&c. Sometimes we were her worst enemies, and 
must not come near her ; at other times she would 
speak to me in the most endearing terms. Till very 
lately, she has been so desirous of my company, that 
it has been with much difficulty that I have stolen 
away from her about two hours in the twenty-four, 
that I might ride out in the air, my health having 
been considerably impaired. But lately her mind 
took another turn, which to me was very afflictive. 
It is true she never ceased to love her husband. ' I 
have had,' she would say, ' as tender a husband as 
ever woman had ; but you are not my husband ! ' 
She seemed for the last month really to have con 
sidered me as an impostor, who had entered the 
house, and taken possession of the keys of every 
place, and of all that belonged to her and her hus 
band. Poor soul ! for the last month, as I said, 
this and other notions of the kind have rendered her 
more miserable than I am able to describe ! She 
has been fully persuaded that she was not at home, 
but had wandered some where from it ; had lost her 
self, and fallen among strangers. She constantly 
wanted to make her escape, on which account we 
were obliged to keep the doors locked, and to take 
away the keys. ' No,' she would say to me, with 
a countenance full of inexpressible anguish, ' this is 
not my home .... you are not my husband .... 
these are not my children. Once I had a good 
home .... and a husband who loved me .... and 
dear children .... and kind friends .... but where 
am I now ? I am lost ! I am ruined ! What have 
I done ? Oh ! what have I done ? Lord, have 
mercy upon me ! ' In this strain she would be fre 
quently walking up and down, from room to room, 
bemoaning herself, without a tear to relieve her, 
wringing her hands, first looking upwards, then 
downwards, in all the attitudes of wild despair ! 
You may form some conception what must have 
been my feelings, to have been a spectator of all this 
anguish, and at the same time incapable of affording 
her the smallest relief. 

" Though she seemed not to know the children 
about her, yet she had a keen and lively remem 
brance of those that were taken away. One day, 
wlu-n I was gone out for the air, she went out of 
the house. The sen-ant missing her, immediately 
followed, and found her in the grave-yard, looking 
at the graves of her children. She said nothing ; 
but, with a bitterness of soul, pointed the servant's 
eyes to the wall, where the name of one of them, 



who was buried in 1783, was cut in the stone. 
Then turning to the graves of the other children, in 
an agony, she with her foot struck off the long grass, 
which had grown over the flat stones, and read the 
inscriptions with silent anguish, alternately looking 
at the sen - ant and at the stones. 

" About a fortnight before her death, she had one 
of the happiest intervals of any during the affliction. 
She had been lamenting on account of this impostor 
that was come into her house, and would not give 
her the keys. She tried for two hours to obtain them 
by force, in which time she exhausted all her own 
strength, and almost mine. Not being able to obtain 
her point, as I was necessarily obliged to resist her 
in this matter, she sat down and wept threatening 
me that God would surely judge me for treating a 
poor helpless creature in such a manner ! I also was 
overcome with grief: I wept with her. The sight 
of my tears seemed to awaken her recollection. 
With her eyes fixed upon me, she said . . . . ' Why, 
are you indeed my husband ? ' ' Indeed, my dear, 
I am ! ' ' O ! if I thought you were, I could give 
you a thousand kisses ! ' ' Indeed, my dear, I am 
your own dear husband ! ' She then seated herself 
upon my knee, and kissed me several limes. My 
heart dissolved with a mixture of grief and joy. Her 
senses were restored, and she talked as rationally as 
ever. I then persuaded her to go to rest, and she 
slept well. 

" About two in the morning she awoke, and con 
versed with me as rationally as ever she did in her 
life : said her poor head had been disordered ; that 
she had given me a great deal of trouble, and feared 
she had injured my health ; begged I would excuse 
all her hard thoughts and speeches ; and urged this 
as a consideration ' Though I was set against you, 
yet I was not set against you as my husband.' 
She desired I would ride out every day for the air ; 
gave directions to the sen-ant about her family; 
told her where this and that article were to be found, 
which she wanted ; inquired after various family 
concerns, and how they had been conducted since 
she had been ill : and thus we continued talking to 
gether till morning. 

" She continued much the same all the forenoon ; 
was delighted with the conversation of Robert, 
whose heart also was delighted, as he said, to see 
his mother so well. ' Robert,' said she, ' we shall 
not live together much longer.' ' Yes, mother,' 
replied the child, ' I hope we shall live together for 
ever ! ' Joy sparkled in her eyes at this answer : 
she stroked his head, and exclaimed, ' O bless you, 
my dear ! how came such a thought into your mind ? ' 

" Towards noon she said to me, ' We will dine 
together to-day, my dear, up stairs.' We did so. 



Ivi 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



But while we were at dinner, in a few minutes her 
senses were gone ; nor did she ever recover them 
again. From this happy interval, however, I enter 
tained hopes that her senses would return when she 
was delivered, and came to recover her strength. 

" On Thursday, the 23d instant, she was deliver 
ed of a daughter ; but was all the day very restless, 
full of pain and misery, no return of reason, except 
that from an aversion to me, which she had so long 
entertained, she called me ' my dear,' and twice 
kissed me ; said she ' must die,' and ' let me die, 
my dear,' said she, ' let me die ! ' Between nine 
and ten o'clock, as there seemed no immediate sign 
of a change, and being very weary, I went to rest ; 
but about eleven was called up again, just time 
enough to witness the convulsive pangs of death, 
which in about ten minutes carried her off. 

" Poor soul ! What she often said is now true. 
She was not at home .... I am not her husband 
. . . these are not her children . . . but she has 
found her home .... a home, a husband, and a 
family better than these ! It is the cup which my 
Father hath given me to drink, and shall I not 
drink it ? Amidst all my afflictions I have much 
to be thankful for. I have reason to be thankful, 
that though her intellects were so deranged, yet 
she never uttered any ill language, nor was ever 
disposed to do mischief to herself or others ; and 
when she was at the worst, if I fell on my knees to 
prayer, she would instantly be still and attentive. 
I have also to be thankful, that though she has been 
generally afraid of death all her lifetime, yet that 
fear has been remarkably removed for the last half 
year. While she retained her reason, she would 
sometimes express a willingness to live or to die, as 
it might please God ; and about five or six weeks 
ago would now and then possess a short interval in 
which she would converse freely. One of our 
friends, who staid at home with her on Lord's days, 
says that her conversation at those times would 
often turn on the poor and imperfect manner in 
which she had served the Lord, her desires to serve 
him better, her grief to think she had so much and 
so often sinned against him. On one of these oc 
casions, she was wonderfully filled with joy on over 
hearing the congregation while they were singing over 
the chorus, ' Glory, honour, praise, and power,' &c. 
She seemed to catch the sacred spirit of the song. 

" I mean to erect a stone to her memory, on which 
will probably be engraved the following lines : 

The tender parent wails no more her loss, 
Nor labours more beneath life's heavy load ; 
The anxious soul, released from fears and woes, 
Has found her home, her children, and her God. 

" To all this I may add, that, perhaps, I have 



reason to be thankful for her removal : however the 
dissolution of such a union may affect my present 
feelings, it may be one of the greatest mercies both 
to her and me. Had she continued, and continued 
in the same state of mind, which was not at all im 
probable, this, to all appearance, would have been 
a thousand times worse than death. 

" The poor little infant is yet alive, and we call 
her name Bathoni ; the same name, except the 
difference of sex, which Rachel gave to her last- 
born child.* Mr. West preached a funeral sermon 
last night, at the interment, from 2 Cor. v. 1." 

Several months afterwards, Mr. Fuller composed 
the following plaintive lines, during a solitary ride 
through Corby woods : 

" I, who erewhile was blessed with social joys, 
With joys that sweetened all the ills of life, 
And shed a cheerful light on all things round, 
Now mourn my days in pensive solitude. 
There once did live a heart that cared for me ; 
I loved, and was again beloved in turn ; 
Her tender soul would soothe my rising griefs, 
And wipe my tears, and mix them with her own : 
But she is not; and I forlorn am left, 
To weep unheeded, and to serve alone. 

" I roam amidst the dreary woods. Here once 
I walked with her who walks no more with me. 
The fragrant forest then with pleasure smiled, 
Why wears it now a melancholy hue ? 
Ah me ! nor woods, nor fields, nor aught besides, 
Can grateful prove where grief corrodes the heart ! 

" God of my life, and guide of all my years, 
May I again to thee my soul commend, 
And in thee find a Friend to share my griefs, 
And give me counsel in each doubtful path, 
And lead me on through every maze of life, 
Till I arrive where sighs no more are heard ! " 



SECTION IV. 1793 TO 1814. 

FORMATION OF BAPTIST MISSION DEPARTURE 

OF MISSIONARIES LETTERS ON SOCINIANISM 
SECOND MARRIAGE PREACHING IN BRAY- 
BROOK CHURCH JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND 

TROUBLE RELATIVE TO HIS ELDEST SON 

PUBLICATIONS ON DEISM, UNIVERSAL SALVA 
TION, BACKSLIDING, SPIRITUAL PRIDE SE 
COND JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND JOURNEY TO 

IRELAND CORRESPONDENCE WITH AMERICA 

DIPLOMAS THIRD JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND 

CORRESPONDENCE PUBLICATION OF DIA 
LOGUES, &C. ATTACK ON THE MISSION 

FOURTH JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND CHARGE OF 

PERSECUTION JOSEPH FULLER JOURNEY TO 

WALES FIRE AT SERAMPORE EAST INDIA 

CHARTER DEATH OF MR. SUTCLIFF, &C. 

THE employments of life have been ranked among 

its greatest blessings ; and never does their value 

* Gen. xxav. 1G 18. 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIARY. 



Ivii 



opcar more striking than when they are directed 
the relief of a mind overwhelmed with distress, 
[n conjunction with a few individuals, who had 
united with him in strenuous efforts to induce coin- 
in on behalf of the heathen world, Mr. Fuller 
was, in the midst of his afflictions, occupied in ma 
turing plans which issued in the formation of the 
" Particular Baptist Society for propagating the 
Gospel among the Heathen." A meeting was con 
vened for that purpose, at Ketlering, on the 2d of 
October, 1792, on which occasion the contributions 
amounted to 13 2s. 6d., which then constituted 
the whole of its pecuniary resources. 

The meetings for prayer and conference, estab 
lished in 1784, contained the germ of this institu 
tion ; but the specific design of a missionary under 
taking originated with the venerable Dr. Carey, at 
that time pastor of the church at Leicester. This 
distinguished individual, though of obscure origin, 
displayed at an early period an astonishing facility 
in the acquirement of languages,* which, united 
witli eminent piety and enthusiastic ardour in the 
most sacred of causes, and aided by the association 
and counsels of such men as Ryland, Sutcliff, 
J't'drce, and the subject of these memoirs, led to 
results truly astonishing. The Baptist mission has 
extended its operations over a large portion of the 
continent of India, having circulated in that vast 
tract of country copies of the New Testament in 
nineteen different languages, and of the whole Bible 
in six, established schools for the instruction of the 
heathen youth, and already resulted in the hopeful 
conversion of several hundreds of Hindoos and 
Mussulmans, besides upwards of 20,000 of the 
negro population of the West Indies. In this 
mighty enterprise, the commencement of which was 
distinguished by extraordinary modesty of preten 
sion and silence of operation, Mr. Fuller found 
ample scope for the exercise of those powers of 
mind with which he was endowed ; and to this, 
beyond a doubt, he sacrificed his life. 

The characteristic qualities severally displayed 
by Mr. F.'s associates in this work illustrate an in 
teresting peculiarity in the Divine procedure. In 
the accomplishment of any great design, men of 
various and even opposite temperament are selected, 
(as was strikingly exemplified in the Reformation,) 
to operate as a mutual check upon that tendency to 
extremes which too often neutralizes individual ef 
forts. Thus the singular wisdom of Sutcliff, and the 
scrupulous integrity of Ryland, served not only to 
strengthen and develope those qualities already so 

* Evidence of this is afforded in his early appointment to 
the professorship of Sanscrit in the college of Fort William. 



conspicuous in Mr. Fuller, but happily to temper 
that constitutional ardour which might otherwise 
have betrayed him into indiscretions. That Provi 
dence which had for so many years guided the work 
ings of these elements, and at length brought them 
into such happy contact, now marked out the scene 
of operations, and opened a way for the departure 
of Carey, who, from the first, appears secretly to 
have resolved on a consecration of himself to this 
work. Mr. John Thomas, a gentleman recently 
returned from Bengal, was introduced to the Society 
by the venerable Abraham Booth ; and it was ulti 
mately agreed that he and Mr. Carey should pro 
ceed forthwith to India. 

In a letter to Dr. Ryland, Mr. Fuller says, " You 
see things of great consequence are in train. My 
heart fears while it is enlarged. I have this day 
been to Olney to converse with brother Sutcliff, and 
to request him to go with me to Leicester this day 
se'nnight to conciliate the church there, and to sound 
Mrs. Carey's mind, whether she will go and take 
the family.f .... I am much concerned with the 
weight that lies upon us ; it is a great undertaking, 
yet surely it is right. We have all felt much in 
prayer. We must have one solemn day of fasting 
and prayer on parting with our Paul and Barnabas." 

This meeting took place at Leicester, and was 
truly affecting. In concluding his charge to the 
missionaries, Mr. Fuller thus addressed them : " Go, 
then, my dear brethren, stimulated by these pros 
pects. We shall meet again. Crowns of glory 
await you and us. Each, I trust, will be addressed 
in the last day, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
enter ye into the joy of your Lord.' " 

A difficulty now arose as to the propriety of 
making formal application for a passage in one of 
the Company's ships ; but as this might be follow 
ed with a refusal, compelling them to go in a less 
direct form, it was judged most advisable to wave 
it, and to proceed unobserved. Matters being ad 
justed, the missionaries embarked amid the prayers 
and tears of their friends. 

They had waited three weeks at the Isle of Wight 
for a convoy, when the secretary received a letter 
from Mr. Carey, dated Ryde, May 21, 1793, in 
which he says, " I have just time to inform you 
that all our plans are entirely frustrated for the pre 
sent. On account of the irregular manner of our 
going out, an information is laid against the cap 
tain, for taking a person on board without an order 
from the Company : the person not being specified, 
Mr. T. and myself and another passenger are or- 

f Mrs. Carey's circumstances did not admit of her accom 
panying her husband, but she contemplated following him at 
an early period. 



Iviii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



dered to quit the ship. I leave the island to-day or 
to-morrow, and on Thursday the ship sails with 
out us." 

Though Mr. Fuller had rather yielded to this 
method of going out than approved it, yet the dis 
appointment deeply affected him. He lost no time 
in forwarding the above epistle to Dr. Ryland, ac 
companied with the following : 

"Perhaps Carey has written to you. We are 
all undone ! I am grieved ; yet, perhaps, 'tis best. 
I am afraid leave will never be obtained now for 
Carey or any other, and the adventure seems to be 
lost. He says nothing of the 250 for voyage 
'tis well if that be not lost." 

The delay thus occasioned was not however with 
out its advantages, as will be seen by Dr. Ryland's 
description of an interview with Messrs. Thomas 
and Carey. " At seeing them I said, ' Well, I 
know not whether to say I am glad or sorry to see 
you ! ' They replied, ' If you are sorry, your sor 
row may be turned into joy ; for it is all for the 
best. We have been at Hackleton, and have seen 
Mrs. Carey ; she is well recovered from her con 
finement, and is now able to accompany her hus 
band, and is willing to go.' I think they said that 
she had at first refused : they left the house, and had 
walked half a, mile, when Mr. Thomas proposed 
to go back again, an additional argument having 
struck his mind to use with her. They went back : 
she said she would go if her sister would go with 
her. They then pleaded with the sister that it de 
pended on her whether the family should be separ 
ated or not. Since Mrs. Short's return from India, 
she has told me that she hastened up-stairs to pray, 
and, when she came down, told them she was will 
ing to go. Having related the above, they told me 
they had heard of a Danish ship which would be in 
the Downs in four days, and had room for them all." 

Having taken a second and final leave of the 
missionaries, Mr. Fuller addressed himself with re 
doubled ardour to the promotion of the domestic 
interests of the mission. His intense application to 
these important objects occasioned a paralytic af 
fection most alarming to his friends, during which 
his indefatigable pen was engaged in the defence of 
evangelical religion at home. In the course of this 
year he produced his " Calvinistic and Socinian 
Systems Compared," a work justly entitled to a 
principal place among his polemical writings. The 
ground taken was new, and was suggested by the 
tedious iteration of the stale charge of licentious 
ness made by the " Unitarians " against the doc 
trines of Calvinism. 

The sentiments of the late Rev. R. Hall relative 
to this treatise are thus expressed in a letter to the 



author : " You will please to accept my hearty 
thanks for your book ; which, without flattery, ap 
pears to me by far the most decisive confutation of 
the Socinian system that ever appeared. There 
are some particulars in which I differ from you ; 
but, in general, I admire the spirit no less than the 
reasoning : it will be read not merely as a pamphlet 
of the day, but for years to come." 

Notwithstanding the acknowledgment of several 
leading persons among the Socinians, that these 
letters were " well worthy of their attention," it 
was not till after the lapse of three years that an 
answer appeared, in the publications of Dr. Toul- 
min and Mr. Kentish. The former of those gentle 
men undertook to prove ' The Practical Efficacy of 
the Unitarian Doctrine,' from the successes of the 
apostles and primitive Christians ! Mr. Fuller re 
plied to both. Some passages in his diary, written 
in 1794, exhibiting the influence of these labours 
on his character and happiness, and furnishing a 
pious record of an important domestic occurrence, 
may here be transcribed. 

" July 18. Within the last year or two we 
have formed a Missionary Society, and have been 
enabled to send out two of our brethren to the East 
Indies. My heart has been greatly interested in 
this work. Surely I never felt more genuine love 
to God and to his cause in my life. I bless God 
that this work has been a means of reviving my 
soul. If nothing else comes of it, I and many more 
have obtained a spiritual advantage. My labours, 
however, in this harvest, I have reason to think, 
brought on a paralytic stroke, by which, in January, 
1793, for a week or two, I lost the use of one side 
of my face. That was recovered in a little time ; 
but it left behind it a headache, which I have reason 
to think will never fully leave me. I have ever since 
been incapable of reading or writing with intense 
application. At this time I am much better than 
I was last year, but, even now, reading or writing 
for a few hours will bring on the headache. Upon 
the whole, however, I feel satisfied. It was in the 
service of God. If a man lose his limbs or his 
health by intemperance, it is to his dishonour ; but 
not so if he lose them in serving his country. Paul 
was desirous of dying to the Lord , so let me ! " 

" The reflection I made on June 1, 1792, that 
we have no more religion than we have in times 
of trial, has again occurred. God has tried me, 
within the last two or three years, by heavy and 
sore afflictions in my family, and by threatening 
complaints in my body. But, of late, trials have 
been of another kind: having printed " Letters on 
Socinianism," they have procured an unusual tide 
of respect and applause. Some years ago I en- 



EXTRACTS FROM HIS DIAIiY. 



lix 



dured a portion of reproach on account of what I 
had written against false Calvinism ; now I am 
likely to be tried with the contrary : and, perhaps, 
good report, though more agreeable, may prove 
not less trying than evil report. I am apprehen 
sive that God sees my heart to be too much elated 
already, and therefore withholds his blessing from 
my ordinary ministrations. I conceive things to be 
very low in the congregation. It has been a thought 
which has affected me of late The church at Lei 
cester have lost their pastor, as have also the 
church at Northampton ; but neither of them 
have lost their God : whereas, at Kettering, the 
man and the means are continued ; we have the 
mantle, but ' where is the Lord God of Elijah ? ' 
God has, as it were, caused it to rain upon those 
places, but not upon us. Though without pastors, 
yet they have had great increase ; whereas we have 
had none of late, and many disorders among us. I 
am afraid I am defective as to knowing the state of 
my own church, and looking well to their spiritual 
concerns. 

" Within the last two years, I have experienced, 
perhaps, as much peace and calmness of mind as at 
any former period. I have been enabled to walk 
somewhat nearer to God than heretofore ; and I 
find that there is nothing which affords such a pre 
servative against sin. ' If we walk in the Spirit, 
we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.' This pas 
sage has been of great use to me ever since I preached 
from it, which was on June 3, 1792. The idea on 
which I then principally insisted was, that sin is to 
be overcome, not so much by a direct or mere 
resistance of it, as by opposing other principles 
and considerations to it. This sentiment has 
been abundantly verified in my experience : so far 
as I have walked in the Spirit, so far has my life 
been holy and happy ; and I have experienced a 
good degree of these blessings compared with for 
mer times, though but a very small degree compared 
with what I ought to aspire after. I have lately 
spoken some strong language against the sin of 
covetousness. Oh that I may never be left to that 
spirit myself ! I have been concerned this morning 
lest I should. We know but little of what we are, 
till we are tried. I dreamed last night that a person 
of a religious and generous character was making 
his observations upon Dissenters that there were 
but few eminently holy and benevolent characters 
among them. On waking, my thoughts ran upon 
abject. I felt that there was too much truth 
in it (though, perhaps, no truth, if they were viewed 
in comparison with other denominations) ; and pos 
sessed an ardent desire that, let others do what they 
would, I and mine might live, not to ourselves, but 



to Him who died for us ! It seemed a lovely thing 
which is said of Christ ' He went about doing 
good ! ' Oh that whatever I may at any time possess 
of this world's good, it might be consecrated to 
God ! The Lord ever preserve me from the mean 
vice of covetousness ! 

" Of late my thoughts have turned upon another 
marriage that passage which has been with me in 
all my principal concerns through life ' In all thy 
ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy 
paths ' has recurred again. I have found much 
of the hand of God in this concern. 

" Oct. 27. Of late I have been greatly employed 
in journeying and preaching, and endeavouring to 
collect for the East India Mission. I find a frequent 
removal from place to place, though good for my 
health, not good for my soul. I feel weary of jour 
neys on account of their interfering so much with 
my work at home. I long to visit my congregation, 
that I may know more of their spiritual concerns, 
and be able to preach to their cases. 

" I devote this day to fasting and prayer on ac 
count of my expected marriage, to entreat the bless 
ing of God upon me and upon her that may be con 
nected with me, and upon all that pertains to us." 

On the 30th Dec., 1794, Mr. Fuller married 
Ann, only daughter of the late Rev. W. Coles, pas 
tor of the Baptist Church at Maulden, near Ampthill, 
on which occasion he thus writes : 

" This day I was married ; and this day will 
probably stamp my future life with either increasing 
happiness or misery. My hopes rise high of the 
former ; but my times and those of my dear com 
panion are in the Lord's hand. I feel a satisfaction 
that in her I have a godly character as well as a 
wife. .... I bless God for the prospect I have 
of an increase of happiness. It is no small satisfac 
tion that every one of our relations was agreeable ; 
that there are no prejudices to afford ground for 
future jealousies. Two days after our marriage we 
invited about a dozen of our serious friends to drink 
tea and spend the evening in prayer." 

About this period an incident occurred which 
introduced Mr. Fuller into one of the pulpits of the 
Establishment, and which he thus describes in a 
letter to Dr. Ryland : 

" Oct. 26, 1796. 

" The report of my preaching in Braybrook 
church is true ; but that of the clergyman, or my 
self, having suffered any inconvenience, is not so ; 
nor have I any apprehensions on that score. The 
fact was thus : Mr. Broughton, of Braybrook Lodge, 



lx 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



had a son, about twenty years of age, who died. 
The young man's desire was that I should preach 
a funeral sermon at his interment, from Jer. xxxi. 
18 20. Mr. Ayre, the Baptist minister, came to 
me the day before his burial, to inform me. I said 
to him, ' And where are we to be ? the meeting 
house will not hold half the people.' He said, he 
did not know. ' I do not know,' said I, 'where we 
can be, unless they would lend us the church.' 
This I said merely in pleasantry, and without the 
most distant idea of asking for it. Mr. A., how 
ever, went home, and told the young man's father 
what I had said. ' I will go,' said he, ' and ask 
the clergyman.' He went. ' I have no objection,' 
said the old man, ( who is a good-tempered man, but 
lies under no suspicion of either evangelical senti 
ments or of being righteous over-much,) ' if it could 
be done with safety ; but I reckon it would be un 
safe.' Mr. B. took this for an answer in the nega 
tive. But, the same day, the old clergyman rode 
over to Harborough,and inquired, I suppose, of some 
attorney. He was told no ill consequences would 
follow towards him : if any, they would fall upon 
me. He then came back, and, just before the fu 
neral, told Mr. B. what he had learned, adding, ' I 
do not wish Mr. F. to injure himself; but, if he 
choose to run the hazard, he is welcome to the 
church.' Mr. B. told me this. We then carried 
the corpse up to the church, and the old man went 
through the service out of doors. It was nearly 
dark, very cold and damp ; and about five hundred 
or six hundred were gathered together. The meet 
ing-house would not hold above one hundred, and I 
should have taken a great cold to have been abroad. 
I did not believe the attorney's opinion, that they 
could hurt me, unless it were through the clergy 
man. I, therefore, went up to him, thanked him 
for his offer, and accepted it. He staid to hear me ; 
and I can truly say, I aimed and longed for his 
salvation. After sermon he shook hands with me 
before all the people ; saying, ' Thank you, sir, for 
your serious pathetic discourse : I hope no ill con 
sequences will befall either thee or me.' Next day 
I rode with him some miles on my way home. ' I 
like charity,' said he ; ' Christians should be cha 
ritable to one another.' I have heard nothing since, 
and expect to hear no more about it." 

Without any disparagement of the labours of his 
coadjutors in the mission, it may with truth be af 
firmed, that the increasing weight of the Society's 
concerns mainly devolved on Mr. Fuller, whose 

* The venerable clergyman was however summoned before 
his superior, and interrogated. " Did he pray for the king ?" 
" Yes, very fervently." " And what did he preach about ? " 



gratuitous services, on its behalf, engrossed the 
greater part of his time for about twenty years. 
Much of this was spent in journeys to Scotland, 
Ireland, Wales, arid various parts of England, where 
he used, as he says, to " tell the mission tale," and 
leave the results. These, in most cases, far ex 
ceeded his anticipations ; which, though never san 
guine, were equally removed from despondency. 
" Only let us have faith," said he, " and we shall 
not want money." In addressing a congregation 
he has sometimes expressed himself to this effect : 
" If I only wished for your money, I might say, 
' Give, whatever be your motive ! ' No ; I am not 
so concerned for the salvation of the heathen as to 
be regardless of that of my own countrymen ! I 
ask not a penny from such a motive ; and, more 
over, I solemnly warn you, that if you give all your 
substance in this way, it will avail you nothing." 
He was not, however, always successful ; and some 
of the less frequented streets of the metropolis af 
forded him a temporary asylum, in which his tears 
bore witness to the lamentable coldness of religious 
professors. 

There was at that time little or no precedent for 
the management of the affairs of such institutions, 
nor had Mr. Fuller any predilection for that busi 
ness-like apparatus which the more extended con 
cerns of the Society at length imperatively demand 
ed, and for the want of which they suffered during 
the latter part of his life. Besides his utter repug 
nance to that parade which has in too many in 
stances been made an appendage to the business of 
religious institutions, he entertained serious objec 
tions of another kind. " Friends," said he, " talk 
to me about coadjutors and assistants, but, I know 
not how it is, I find a difficulty. Our undertaking 
to India really appeared to me, on its commence 
ment, to be somewhat like a few men, who were de 
liberating about the importance of penetrating into 
a deep mine, which had never before been explored. 
We had no one to guide us ; and, while we were 
thus deliberating, Carey, as it were, said, ' Well, I 
will go down if you will hold the rope.' But, be 
fore he went down, he, as it seemed to me, took an 
oath from each of us at the mouth of the pit to this 
effect, that while roe lived we should never let go 
the rope. You understand me. There was great re 
sponsibility attached to us who began the business." 

In addition to the numerous collections made in 
various parts of the empire and the management of 
the accounts, the correspondence of the Society in 
creased rapidly on his hands. To him was chiefly 

" The common salvation." Here the matter ended, with an 
admonition not to repeat the offence. 



FIRST JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND. 



committed the drawing up of official letters to the 
missionaries, all of whom received additional tokens 
of his affection in private communications. The 
interests of the institution demanded a still more 
ex tensive correspondence at home : its cause re 
quired a frequent advocacy with cabinet ministers, 
members of parliament, and East India directors ; 
not for the purpose of procuring exclusive privileges, 
but for securing a legal passage for the missionaries, 
and the protection justly due to every peaceable sub 
ject of the colonial governments. Nor were there 
wanting bitter and subtle enemies both at home and 
abroad, who left no means untried to accomplish 
the ruin of the mission, and whose machinations 
were successively exposed and defeated by the un 
wearied pen of the secretary. 

The labours connected with the immediate object 
of his journeys were probably exceeded by those to 
which they incidentally gave rise. This was espe 
cially the case in Scotland and Ireland, where, not 
to mention the frequent appeals to his judgment in 
cases of ecclesiastical discipline by those of his own 
connexion, he was led into tedious controversies, 
chiefly originating in certain views of faith at vari 
ance with the sentiments maintained in his first 
polemical treatise, and to which their advocates at 
tached an importance that led to constant discussion 
in the parlour, in the pulpit, and from the press. 

The first of these journeys into the north was un 
dertaken in 1799, at the pressing solicitation of 
some highly respectable individuals in Edinburgh 
and Glasgow, who had taken a deep interest in the 
proceedings of the mission, and by whom Mr. 
Fuller was much esteemed on account of his pub 
lications, particularly that on Socinianism. In an 
ticipation of this visit is the following entry in his 
diary : 

"Oct. 2, 1799. I am going out for a month 
altogether among faces which I have never seen. 
My spirits revolt at the idea, but duty calls. I go 
to make collections for the translation of the Scrip 
tures into Bengalee. 

" I am subject to many faults in company, and 
often incur guilt. The Lord keep me in the way 
I go, and enable me to keep my heart with all dili 
gence. Oh that I may be spiritual, humble, and 
watchful in all companies ! May the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ prosper my way. 
May the God of Israel preserve my family, friends, 
and connexions, during my absence." 

His reception was truly generous and gratifying, 
and conveyed to his mind a high idea of the intelli 
gence and principle of his northern friends. He 
particularly mentions in his journal interviews with 
Dr. Stuart. Mr. M'Lean, Dr. Erskine, Messrs. 



Haldane, Innes, Ewing, and the venerable David 
Dale. 

It was at Glasgow that he received the mournful 
tidings of the death of his " beloved Pearce." " O 
Jonathan," he exclaims, " very pleasant hast thou 
been to me. I am distressed for thee, my brother 
Jonathan ! O Jonathan, thou wast slain upon thy 
high places ! " 

He describes the congregations at Edinburgh and 
Glasgow as exceedingly large. " My heart was 
dismayed at the sight, especially on a Lord's-day 
evening. Nearly 5000 people attended, and some 
thousands went away unable to get in." He re 
turned after collecting upwards of 900, and preach 
ing nearly every evening during his journey. 

To Mr. Fuller was assigned the melancholy task 
of furnishing the public with memoirs of the excellent 
Pearce, of which invaluable piece of biography it 
was remarked by the late Sir H. Blossett, chief 
justice of Bengal, that he scarcely knew which most 
to admire the lovely character of Mr. Pearce, or 
the happy talent displayed by Mr. Fuller in sketch 
ing it. The overwhelming pressure of this and 
numerous other avocations is thus described in his 
reply to the solicitations of the editor of a periodical 
work : " My labours will increase without any con- 
sent on my part. As to magazines, there are se 
veral to which I contribute, for the sake of the mis 
sion and other public interests, and, through such a 
number of objects as press upon me daily, my own 
vineyard, my own soul, my family, and congregation, 
are neglected. Every journey I take only makes 
way for two or three more ; and every book I write 
only occasions me to write others to explain or de 
fend it. ' All is vanity and vexation of spirit ! ' 'I 
gave my heart to know wisdom ; I perceived that 
this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom 
is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge 
increaseth sorrow.' Some are pressing me to write 
more largely on the mediation of Christ, and others 
to review the second edition of Mr. Booth's Glad 
Tidings, Controversies perplex me ; and I am 
already engaged with a gross and subtle sophist.* 
My northern correspondents are ever raising ob 
jections against my views of faith, &c. ; all of which 
I could answer, but cannot get time. I have sent 
your remarks to my friend at Edinburgh ; they will 
serve as a tub for the whale to play with, and per 
haps for a time he will let me alone. 

" Pearce's memoirs are now loudly called for. 
I sit down almost in despair and say, ' That which is 
crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is 
lacking cannot be numbered.' My wife looks at 

* Mr. Fuller was at that time engaged in the tmiversalist, 
as well as other controversies. 



Ixii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



me, with a tear ready to drop, and says, ' My dear, 
you have hardly time to speak to me.' My friends 
at home are kind, but they also say, ' You have no 
time to see or know us, and you will soon be worn 
out.' Amidst all this, there is ' Come again to 
Scotland come to Portsmouth come to Plymouth 
come to Bristol.' 

" Excuse this effusion of melancholy. My heart 
is willing to do every thing you desire that I can 
do, but my hands fail me. Dear brother Ryland 
complains of old age coming upon him, and I ex 
pect old age will come upon me before I am really 
old. Under this complicated load my heart has 
often of late groaned for rest, longing to finish my 
days in comparative retirement." 

It has not unfrequently been the lot of men 
the most eminently pious to be tried with miscon 
duct in their families. In this respect the case 
of Mr. Fuller, though in some of its details much 
more afflictive than that of his excellent friend 
Legh Richmond, in others strongly resembled it. 
Each lamented over the supposed loss of his first 
born under most distressing circumstances, yet to 
both of them God was gracious, enabling them to 
say, " This my son was dead and is alive again, 
was lost and is found," and giving them cheering 
hope in the end. 

On no point has the writer of these memoirs felt 
such painful hesitation as in determining relative to 
the presentation of the following records. Desirous 
on the one hand of avoiding any exposure of the 
faults of so near a relative, and, on the other, of ex 
hibiting every circumstance strikingly eliciting the 
virtues of his revered parent, he would have suffered 
the former feeling to predominate, had not the de 
tails of the unhappy event already been given to the 
public. It is due, however, to the character of the 
departed youth, to remove an impression, too gener 
ally conceived, that he possessed an inveterate pro 
pensity to vicious and abandoned courses. This 
was not the case ; his disposition was in many re 
spects amiable, and amid all his wanderings, which 
arose from a restless instability of character, it does 
not appear that he abandoned himself to any of those 
grosser vices incident to a naval and military life. 

In May, 1796, a respectable situation was pro 
cured for him in London, which circumstance, with 
its result, is thus noticed in Mr. Fuller's diary : 

"May 12. This day, my eldest son is gone to 
London, upon trial at a warehouse belonging to Mr. 
B. My heart has been much exercised about him. 
The child is sober and tender in his spirit ; I find, 
too, he prays in private ; but whether he be really 
godly I know not. Sometimes he has expressed a 



desire after the ministry, but I always considered 
that as arising from the want of knowing himself. 
About a year and a half ago, I felt a very affecting 
time in pleading with God on his behalf. Nothing 
appeared to me so desirable for him as that he might 
be a servant of God. I felt my heart much drawn 
out to devote him to the Lord, in whatever way he 
might employ him. Since that time, as he became 
of age for business, my thoughts have been much 
engaged on his behalf. As to giving him any idea 
of his ever being engaged in the ministry, it is 
what I carefully shun ; and whether he ever will be 
is altogether uncertain ; I know not whether he be 
a real Christian as yet, or, if he be, whether he will 
possess those qualifications which are requisite for 
that work ; but this I have done, I have mentioned 
the exercises of my mind to Mr. B., who is a godly 
man, and if at any future time within the next five 
or six years he should appear a proper object of 
encouragement for that work, he will readily give 
him up. 

" I felt very tenderly last night and this morning 
in prayer. I cannot say, ' God, before whom my 
fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk; ' but I can 
say, ' God who hath fed me all my life long unto 
this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all 
evil, bless the lad.' 

" July. I perceive I have great unhappiness be 
fore me in my son, whose instability is continually 
appearing ; he must leave London, and what to do 
with him I know not. I was lately earnestly engaged 
in prayer for him that he might be renewed in his 
spirit, and be the Lord's ; and these words occurred 
to my mind ' Hear my prayer, O Lord, that goeth 
not forth out of feigned lips ;' and I prayed them 
over many times." 

Other situations were successively procured, but 
in none of them could he feel satisfied to remain. 
In a letter to a friend about this time, his father thus 
expresses himself: 

" My heart is almost broken. Let nothing that 
I said grieve you ; but make allowance for your 
afflicted and distressed friend. When I lie down, 
a load almost insupportable depresses me. Mine 
eyes are kept waking, or if I get a little sleep it is 
disturbed ; and as soon as I awake my load re 
turns upon me. O Lord, I know not what to do ; 
but mine eyes are up unto thee. Keep me, O my 
God, from sinful despondency. Thou hast promised 
that all things shall work together for good to them 
that love thee ; fulfil thy promise, on which thou 
hast caused thy servant to hope. O my God, this 
child which thou hast given me in charge is wicked 
before thee, and is disobedient to me, and is plunging 



TROUBLE RELATIVE TO HIS ELDEST SON. 



Ixiii 



himself into ruin. Have mercy upon him, O 
Lord, and preserve him from evil. Bring him 
home to me, and not to me only, but also to thyself. 

" If I see the children of other people it aggra 
vates my sorrow. Those who have had no instruc 
tion, no pious example, no warnings or counsels, 
are often seen to be steady and trusty ; but my child, 
who has had all these advantages, is worthy of no 
trust to be placed in him. I am afraid he will go 
into the army, that sink of immorality ; or, if not, 
that being reduced to extremity he will be tempted 
to steal. ' And oh, if he should get such a habit, 
what may not these weeping eyes witness, or this 
broken heart be called to endure ! O my God, 
whither will my fears lead me ? Have mercy upon 
ine, a poor unhappy parent : have mercy upon him, 
a poor ungodly child." 

The former of these fears was realized ; in 1798 
he entered into the army, on which occasion his 
father thus writes to Dr. Ryland : 

" I have indeed had a sore trial in the affair you 
mention ; but I do not recollect any trial of my life 
in which I had more of a spirit of prayer, and con 
fidence in God. Many parts of Scripture were 
precious, particularly the following : ' O Lord, I 
know not what to do ; but mine eyes are up unto 
thee. O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me. 
Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he shall bring 
it to pass. Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he 
shall sustain thee. All things work together for 
good,' &c. Even while I knew not where he wa, 
I felt stayed on the Lord, and some degree of cheer 
ful satisfaction that things would end well. I know 
not what is before me ; but hitherto the Lord hath 

I helped me ; and still I feel resolved to hope in his 
mercy." 

His discharge from the army was obtained on the 
ground of his being an apprentice, but he subse 
quently enlisted in 'the marines, soon after which he 
appeared sensible of his folly. The influence of 
early religious education was felt. Shocked at the 
heathenism of his present situation, and calling to 
remembrance the peaceful sabbaths and pious in 
structions of home, he addressed his father, earnestly 
entreating him to use efforts for his liberation. This 
appeal to the piety and affection of a Christian parent 
was promptly responded to. His father's heart 
went forth to meet him, and he was once more re 
stored to the bosom of his family. 

Notwithstanding the influence of his mother-in- 
law, to whom as well as to every other branch of 
the family he was fondly attached, a dislike to busi 
ness, increased by habits recently contracted, once 
more induced his departure. 

" The sorrows of my heart, 1 ' says his father, "have 



been increased, at different times, to a degree almost 
insupportable ; yet I have hoped in God, and do 
still hope that I shall see mercy for him in the end. 
The Lord knows that I have not sought great things 
for him, and that I have been more concerned for 
the wicked course he was following than on account 
of the meanness of his taste. Oh may the Lord 
bring me out of this horrible pit, and put a new 
song in my mouth ! 

" My heart is oppressed; but yet I am supported. 
Yesterday I fasted and prayed the day through. 
Many scriptures were sweet to me ; particularly 
Matt. xv. 25 ' Lord, help me ! ' a petition in 
which a parent was heard for a child, after repeated 
repulses. And Psal. xxxiii. 22. I believe I shall 
live to see good, in some way, come out of it. My 
soul is at rest in God." 

Finding that he was bent on a seafaring life, his 
father procured him a comfortable situation on board 
a merchant ship, apparently much to his satisfaction. 
The hopes which this new arrangement raised in 
the minds of his friends were, however, suddenly 
destroyed, before he could join his ship, by the 
operation of the savage laws of impressment. Thus, 
against his inclination, he found himself once more 
on board a man-of-war, in the capacity of a common 
sailor. 

In a few months an account was received by his 
friends of his having been tried for desertion, and 
sentenced to a most severe punishment, after the 
infliction of which he immediately expired ! 

" Oh ! " says his agonized parent, " this is heart- 
trouble ! In former cases, my sorrows found vent 
in tears ; but now I can seldom weep. A kind of 
morbid heart-sickness preys upon me from day to 
day. Every object around me reminds me of him ! 
Ah ! .... he was wicked ; and mine eye was not 
over him to prevent it .... he was detected, and 
tried, and condemned ; and I knew it not .... he 
cried under his agonies ; but I heard him not .... 
he expired, without an eye to pity or a hand to help 
him ! . . . . O Absalom ! my son ! my son ! would 
God I had died for thee, my son ! 

" Yet, O my soul ! let me rather think of Aaron 
than of David. He ' held his peace ' in a more 
trying case than mine. His sons were both slain, 
and slain by the wrath of Heaven ; \vereprobably 
intoxicated at the time : and all this suddenly, 
without any thing to prepare the mind for such a 
trial ! Well did he say, ' Such things have befallen 
me.' " 

A few days brought the joyful intelligence that 
the report was an entire fabrication. " Blessed be 
God," says his father, " I find the above report is 
unfounded ! I have received a letter from my poor 



Ixiv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



boy. Well, he is yet alive, and within the reach 
of mercy." 

Other and painful vicissitudes befell this unhappy 
young man, whose last station was among the ma 
rines, with whom he went on a voyage to Brazil. 
On his return, he addressed his father in the most 
pathetic terms, entreating one more written testi 
mony of his forgiveness, urging that he was on the 
point of sailing for Lisbon, " whence," says he, " I 
may never return." 

This was answered by an affecting epistle, of 
which the following extracts are all that can be 
found : 

" MY DEAR ROBERT, 

" I received with pleasure your dutiful letter, 
and would fain consider it as a symptom of a re 
turning mind. I cannot but consider you as having 
been long under a sort of mental derangement, 
piercing yourself through, as well as me, with many 
sorrows. My prayer for you continually is, that 
the God of all grace and mercy may have mercy 
upon you. You may be assured that I cherish no 
animosity against you. On the contrary, I do, from 
my heart, freely forgive you. But that which I 
long to see in you is repentance towards God and 
faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, without which 
there is no forgiveness from above. 

" My dear son ! you had advantages in early 
life ; but, being continually in profligate company, 
you must be debased in mind, and, in a manner, 
reduced to a state of heathenism. In some of your 
letters, I have observed your dashing, as it were, 
against the rocks of fatalism ; suggesting as if you 
thought you were appointed to such a course of life. 
In others I find you nattering yourself that you are 
a penitent ; when, perhaps, all the penitence you 
ever felt has been the occasional melancholy of re 
morse and fear. 

" My dear son ! I am now nearly fifty-five years 
old, and may soon expect to go the way of all the 
earth ! But, before I die, let me teach you the 
good and the right way. ' Hear the instructions of 
a father.' You have had a large portion of God's 
preserving goodness, or you had, ere now, perished 
in your sins. Think of this, and give thanks to the 
Father of mercies, who has hitherto preserved you. 
Think, too, how you have requited him, and be 
ashamed for all that you have done. Nevertheless, 
do not despair ! Far as you have gone, and low as 
you are sunk in sin, yet if hence you return to God, 
by Jesus Christ, you will find mercy. Jesus Christ 
came into the world to save sinners, even the chief 
of sinners. If you had been ever so sober and 
steady in your behaviour towards men, yet, without 



repentance towards God and faith in Christ, you 
could not have been saved ; and if you return to 
God by him, though your sins be great and ag 
gravated, yet will you find mercy " 

This affecting narrative cannot be better con 
cluded than in the words of the late Dr. Ryland : 
" As this poor young man foreboded, this was his 
last voyage. He died off Lisbon, in March, 1809, 
after a lingering illness, in which he had eveiy at 
tention paid him of which his situation would admit. 

" From the testimony of his captain, and one of 
his messmates, we learn that his conduct was good, 
and such as to procure him much respect ; and, from 
letters addressed to his father and his sister, a short 
time before his death, we hope still better things ; 
we hope he was led to see the error of his way, and 
to make the Lord his refuge from the tempest and 
the storm. 

" His death, under such circumstances, was less 
painful to his friends than it would otherwise have 
been ; and, in a sermon preached the Lord's day 
after the intelligence was received, in allusion to 
this event, from Rom. x. 8, 9, his father seemed to 
take comfort from three ideas ; that, ' 1 . The doc 
trine of free justification by the death of Christ is 
suited to sinners of all degrees. It asks not how 
long, nor how often, nor how greatly we have sin 
ned ; if we confess our sins, he is faithful and 
just to forgive us our sins. 2. It is suited to the 
helpless condition of sinners. We have only to 
look aod live. 3. It is suited to sinners in the 
last extremity. It answers to the promised mercy 
in Deut. iv. 29 IF FROM THENCE thou seek the 
Lord thy God, thou shalt find him. Some are 
far from home, and have no friend, in their dying 
moments, to speak a word of comfort .... but this 
is near ! When Jonah was compassed about by the 
floods, when the billows and waVes passed over him, 
he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord heard him.' .... 

" Here he was obliged to pause, and give vent 
to his feelings by weeping ; and many of the con 
gregation, who knew the cause, wept with him ! 
His heart was full, and it was with difficulty he 
could conclude, with solemnly charging the sinner 
to apply for mercy ere it was too late ; for if it 
were rejected, its having been so near, and so easy 
of access, would be a swift witness against him." 

But to return. It was in the midst of these 
afflictions and overwhelming engagements that Mr. 
Fuller, in the year 1800, produced his celebrated 
treatise in defence of the Christian religion, under 
the title of " The Gospel its own Witness, or the 
Holy Nature and Divine Harmony of the Christian 



SECOND JOURNEY TO s( OTLAM). 



Ixv 



Religion, contrasted with the Immorality and Ab 
surdity of Deism." 

He was at the same time engaged in writing a 
succession of letters on the subject of universal 
salvation, the first of which consisted of a private 
remonstrance, written in 1793, to an individual, once 
resident in his own family, who had embraced the 
^r\\s above mentioned. After a lapse of four 
years, some reply to this letter was made in a pe 
riodical work, of which the person to whom it was 
addressed was the editor, the letter having been in 
the mean time inserted in the Evangelical Magazine, 
under a private signature. The series of letters 
which followed were published in 1802. 

In 1801 Mr. Fuller published his small but va 
luable work entitled " The Backslider," which was 
soon followed by another on " Spiritual Pride." In 
reference to these, he thus writes to Dr. Ryland : 
" A respected friend has repeatedly pressed me to 
write a treatise on ' Spiritual Pride,' on the same plan 
as 'The Backslider.' I have thought somewhat on 
the subject, and begun writing. This would tend to 
detect that subtle spirit which is I am persuaded 
fostered by Sandemanianism ' Stand by thyself, 
for I am holier than thou.' But I feel myself much 
more capable of depicting Antinomian pride than 
the other. For this purpose I have procured Hunt- 
ington's works. But in reading them I am stopped 
for a time. I have eight or nine volumes ! I never 
read any thing more void of true religion. I do not 
intend to name him or his works, or those of any 
other person, but merely to draw pictures, and let 
the reader judge who they are like." 

His allusion to Sandemanianism is thus illustrated 
in another letter to the Doctor : 

Sept 9, 1801. 

" I had a letter about a week ago from one of the 
Scotch Baptists about order, discipline, Sec. Ill as 
I \vas, I scratched out the following parable. Dr. 
Stuart* saw it, and he was so much amused with it 
that he must needs copy it. ' In one of the new 
Italian republics, two independent companies are 
formed for the defence of the country. Call the one 
A. and the other B. In forming themselves, and 
learning their exercise, they each profess to follow 
the mode of discipline used by the ancient Romans. 
Their officers, uniforms, and evolutions, however, 
are after all somewhat different from each other. 
Hence disputes arise, and S. refuses to march 
against the enemy with A. as being disorderly. A. 
gives his reasons why he thinks himself orderly ; 

* This gentleman, a physician of considerable practice in 
Edinburgh, was induced by his friendship for Mr. Fuller to visit 
him during his affliction. 

e "2 



but they are far from satisfying B., who not only 
treats him as deviating from rule, but as almost 
knowing himself to do so, and wilfully persisting in 
it. A., tired of jarring, marches against the enemy 
by himself. B. sits at home deeply engaged in stu 
dying order and discipline. ' If your form and rules,' 
says A., ' are so preferable to ours, why do you not 
make use of them ? Discipline is a means, not an 
end. Be not always boasting of your order, and 
reproaching others for the want of it ; let us see the 
use of it. It is true, like the Quakers in 1745, you 
have bought waistcoats for our soldiers, and we 
thank you for them ; but we had rather you would 
fight yourselves.' " 

Notwithstanding the difference of views between 
Mr. Fuller and some of his northern friends, who 
were tinctured with some of Mr. Sandeman's pecu 
liarities, he accepted a pressing invitation to revisit 
Scotland in 1802. 

A journal of this excursion is preserved in letters 
to Mrs. Fuller, from which the following are ex 
tracts : 

"Barton on the Humber, Aug. 25. 

" At ten we arrived here. My sleep having been 
regular, I was not weary, and am now very well. 
With tenderness and earnest solicitude, I have im 
portuned preserving mercy for my dear family, and 
that I may visit it in due time, and not sin. 

" I begin to feel awkward, having reduced my 
four guineas to four shillings ; I am afraid I should 
be in the situation of a number of small ships here 
abouts, at low tide run aground ! I am thinking 
whether I must not take a walk before dinner, in 
stead of having one ! If I could but get over the 
water, I should do. 

" 26. I was detained last night till half-past six, 
and so strong a westerly wind blew that it was 
thought the hoy or daily passage-boat could not 
have come out, in which case I must have staid 
longer still. It did come, however, but a num 
ber of the passengers were sick through our being 
tossed about. There were nearly sixty of us on 
board, and we arrived safely at Hull about half-past 
seven. It was a fine sight to see the waves, each as 
large as the roof of a small house, continually beat 
ing against our vessel, while she rode triumphantly 
above them all. I felt no sickness, but stood above 
deck, having hold of a rope with my hand, and 
gazed all the time with a kind of sublime pleasure 
at the majestic scene. I had eleven-pence in my 
pocket when I came to the house last night. I am 
to spend my sabbath in the two Baptist churches. I 
have hitherto be,en mercifully preserved in all re 
spects. My mind is peaceful and happy ; and niv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



approaches to a throne of grace, at which I do not 
forget you all, have been free and tender." 

"York, Aug. 31. 

" Arrived here last night at nine o'clock. De 
termined to stop a day here and try what I could 
do among the serious Church people. Dissenters 
there are none, except a few Socinian Baptists. 
Went immediately to the house of Hepworth and 
Crosby, who have for some time been subscribers to 
our mission. Met with a kind reception. Supped 
there with Mr. Overton, the author of ' The True 
Churchman,' who is a clergyman of this city. Much 
mutual pleasure. I am here well known by the 
evangelical clergy, of whom there are three, if not 
more : Richardson, Graham, and Overton. Among 
other things in our conversation, were the follow 
ing : 0. ' In the course of my work I have said 
some things which some Dissenters have thought 
severe.' F. 'I suppose you mean in calling them 
schismatics.' O. ' Yes, in part.' F. ' I never felt 
it ; for it did not appear to be aimed to hurt us, but 
merely to screen yourselves in the view of your 
bishops from the suspicion of favouring us.' He 
admitted this a fair construction. 1 added, ' It did 
not hurt me, because I perceived no justice in it. 
The term schism is relative, and has reference to the 
society from which separation is made. Before you 
can fix the guilt of schism upon us, you must prove 
1. That the Church of England is a true church. 
Yea, more. 2. That it is the only true church in 
this kingdom.' He did not go about it, and we 
were very sociable till eleven o'clock, when I went 
to bed at Mr. Hepworth's. 

" This morning, when I have breakfasted, I shall 
call on old Mr. Richardson, who is here a man of 
weight and renown. Mr. Overton asked me if I 
had seen the account of the York Baptists. F. 
' Yes ; I have it.' O. ' And Mr. Graham's an 
swer?'^. 'I have read that also.' O. 'What 
do you think of it?' F. ' I think he has answered 
them in some things, but not in all.' I had once 
written a private letter to Mr. G., pointing out some 
things wherein I conceived he was wrong ; but I 
destroyed it, lest it should involve me in more work 
and more correspondence than I knew how to dis 
charge. I presently found that those things in 
which I had thought G. in the wrong were so con 
sidered by O. 

" At Hull I visited two evangelical clergymen, 
who very readily contributed to our case, and se 
veral of their people followed their example. I had 
one if not both of them for hearers on Friday 
evening. Their names are Dykes and Scott : the 
latter is the son of Mr. Scott of the Lock. 



" I cannot help mentioning the singular kindness 
I received from a Mr. Kidd, an Independent minis 
ter of Cottingham, four or five miles from Hull. 
He not only walked over on Friday to see and hear 
me, and stopped all night for an evening's convers 
ation, but came again with some of his friends on 
the Lord's-day evening, and, unsolicited, brought 
with him 4 15s. He is a modest, intelligent man. 

" Tuesday night. I have collected about 12 
12s. in York. Have had a great deal of Mr. Over- 
ton's company ; also of Mr. Richardson's and Mr. 
Graham's ; and, what is surprising, was informed 
by Mr. Overton in the afternoon that a little Baptist 
church had lately been formed here. He told me 
this, as supposing I should like to call upon some 
of them. I thanked him, and soon after went in 
search of them. I found the principal persons, 
and they would have been very glad of a sermon 
this evening if they had known in time. I gave 
them all the good counsel I could, prayed with them, 
and then returned to the company of Messrs. Over- 
ton, Graham, &.C., with whom I have enjoyed much 
free and friendly conversation. They cheerfully 
went round with me to their friends for a few 
guineas, and also subscribed themselves." 

In a subsequent letter, Mr. Fuller details a con 
versation at the dinner table with the three clergy 
men above mentioned. 

" Mr. Richardson, after saying many friendly 
and respectful things, added in a tone of familiarity, 
' I had almost thrown your Gospel its own Witness 
aside, owing to what you said against establishments 
in the Preface.' F. ' Why, sir, could you not have 
construed it as the British Critic has ? ' H. ' How 
is that?' F. ' I think they say to this effect: The 
author protests against establishments of Christian 
ity for political purposes ; but as ours assuredly 
is not for such ends, he cannot mean that ; and, 
therefore, we recommend it to our readers. Both 
replied, ' We apprehend they construed you more 
favourably than you deserved.' F. ' Well ; it 
seems then I should have put it at the end instead 
of the beginning of the book.' 2$. ' I see you do 
not approve of establishments.' F. ' I do not, sir.' 
R. ' Well ; I am persuaded we are greatly in 
debted to ours.' F. ' The friends of Christ would 
be such without it.' R. ' True ; but the enemies 
would not be kept in such decency.' F. ' I was 
riding last night from Hull to York, with a drunken 
sea-officer ; passing through Beverly, he pointed to 
the cathedral and said, ' That is our relision .... 
we are all for relision ! ' O. ' Ah ! that was honey 
to you.' F. 'I felt for the poor man.' O. 'You 
think hard of Bishop Horsley ? ' F. ' I do.' ' O. 



SECOND JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND. 



Ixvii 



' I think his remarks about Sunday schools have 
been made too much of; he does not condemn the 
institution, but the abuse of it.' F. ' He represents 
village preaching as a political measure, and as 
pursued, under the newly assumed garb of zeal and 
spirituality, by the same men as formerly cried up 
rationality ; which is absolutely false.' R. l He 
had heard some things of Dissenters.' F. ' Yes ; 
and I have heard some things of Yorkshiremen.' 
O. 'What, that they are bites?' F. 'Well; you 
would not be willing I should condemn you all on 
hearsay ?' It. ' He is a man of a bad temper.' 
F. ' I have heard that he is, after all, an infidel : I 
do not know how tnie that may be ; but he is a 
violent man, and full of misrepresentation.' R. 
' What he has said of the body of the Dissenters 
being turned from Calvinism is true of the old 
Dissenters : those that you now call the body of your 
people have come from the Church.' F. ' That may 
be true, in part, especially respecting the Presby 
terians, but not of the Independents or Baptists ; 
and we can account for the decline of Presbyterian- 
ism in England, on the ground of their Paedobap- 
tism.' [All laughed, as though they should say, 
'Bravo! How is that?'] .F. 'The old orthodox 
English Presbyterians made so much of their seed, 
and the dedication of them to God, as they called 
it, by baptism, that, presuming on their conversion, 
they sent them to seminaries of learning, to be 
ministers, before they were Christians ; and as they 
grew up, being destitute of any principle of re 
ligion, they turned aside to any thing rather than 
the gospel. The effect of this was, some of the 
people, especially the young and graceless, followed 
them ; the rest have become Independents or Bap 
tists.' R. ' All your old places that were opened 
at the Revolution are now Socinianized.' F. ' The 
Presbyterian places are mostly so ; but we do not 
mind the places being Socinian, so long as the 
people have left them. As to the body of our 
people coming from the Church, it is little more 
than fifty years since the Church was almost destitute 
of serious ministers and people ; yet there were, at 
that time, perhaps, nearly as many serious Dissenters 



as now. 



CONVERSATION ON DOCTRINE. 



" R. ' There are different shades of Calvinism, 
I suppose, amongst you ? ' F. ' Yes ; there are 
three by which we commonly describe ; namely, 
the high, the moderate, and the strict Calvinists. 
The first are, if I may so ppeak, more Calvinistic 
than Calvin himself ; in other words, bordering on 
Antinomianism.' R. ' Have you many of these ? ' 
F. ' Too many.' O. ' Do they not reckon you 



a legal preacher?' F. 'Yes; at this very time I 
am represented, throughout the religious circles of 
London, as an Arminian.' R. ' On what ground?' 
F. ' What I have written in a note in the Gosj,,-l 
its oven Witness' R. ' I remember that note. 
We all approve of it, and think it agrees with the 
doctrine held by our Church. But what do you call 
a moderate Calvinist?' F. ' One that is a half 
Arminian, or, as they are called with us, Baxterians.' 
R. ' And what a strict Calvinist?' F. 'One 
that really holds the system of Calvin. I do not 
believe every thing that Calvin taught, nor any thing 
because he taught it ; but I reckon strict Calvinism 
to be my own system.' " 

" Glasgow, Sept. 19. 

" The pastor of a church which professes to be 
in fellowship with the English Baptists brought a 
message from them, that they would be glad to hear 
my faith, and, if it accorded with theirs, to have 
me preach, and join them at the Lord's supper. I 
told him, he had sent their faith to me, and I ap 
proved of it : but I should make no other confession 
of faith than that ; that I did not come to Glasgow 
as a candidate for their pulpit, and it was indifferent 
to me whether I occupied it. I said, I had no ob 
jection to answer him any question he thought 
proper to ask me as a Christian ; but I had na 
notion of being interrogated as a condition, of preach 
ing, &c. At nearly eleven, a deacon came with 
their decision, that, if I would not make a confes 
sion, they could not admit me. ' Very well, then 
I shall go to the Tabernacle, and consider your 
conduct as a renunciation of connexion with us, as 
English churches ; for it implies you have no con 
fidence in us.' He said, it was all owing to two or 
three, and that the church in general wished it to 
be otherwise. I heard at Tabernacle, in the morn 
ing, notice was given that I should preach in the 
afternoon and evening. The Baptists repented ; 
but it was too late. I preached in the afternoon to 
4000 people ; in the evening to nearly 5000. CoK 
lected 200." 

" Liverpool, Sept. 25. 

" I have just arrived here, and found yours, after 
a long and tedious journey of 225 miles ; in which 
I put off my clothes only for two hours since Thurs 
day morning. 

" On Monday, Sept. 20, 1 was seized at Glasgow 
with violent sickness and vomiting of bile, and kept 
my bed till three in the afternoon. While in bed, 
I was visited by Mr. L. and the deacons of the Bap 
tist church. I learnt that the refusal of their pulpit 
was against the will of the church, except two mem- 



Ixviii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



bers ; that the church at P., with which they are in 
connexion, had sent deputies to oppose my being 
admitted to preach and commune with them ; and 
these, with the two members, carried their point : 
but, on Lord's-day noon, the church were so hurt 
at my being refused, that they resolved to invite 
me. The two deacons were deputed to request 
that I would look over the affair of Lord's day, and 
consider them as one with us. Accordingly I 
preached there in the evening, and collected 45, 
after about 200 had been collected, on Lord's day, 
at the Tabernacle. Tuesday morning set off in a 
chaise for Greenock ; preached, and collected 33. 
Wednesday returned, and preached at Paisley; 
have not yet received their collection, but suppose it 
may be about 40. I found myself getting better 
daily, though travelling and preaching. 

" On Thursday morning, I met with all the mem 
bers of the Baptist church, who appear to be a sim 
ple-hearted people, and regret my not preaching and 
communing with them. They wished for a connex 
ion with the English churches. I told them that 
the distance was such that our connexion could 
answer but few ends. We might, once in a while, 
hear from each other, might pray for one another, 
and, if the minister or members of either came to 
the other, they might be admitted to communion ; 
but that was all. They assented to this. I then 
told them that I had heard of the Baptists in Scot 
land being negligent of free preaching to the uncon 
verted, and of family religion. Whether this charge 
was true, or not, I could not tell ; but I earnestly 
exhorted them to make it evidently appear that they 
were far more anxious that those around them should 
become Christians than that they should embrace 
our opinion as to baptism : if sinners were converted 
to God among them, and made Christians, they 
would probably be Baptists also, of their own accord ; 
but I reminded them that, if family religion was 
neglected, Paedobaptists would be furnished with 
the most weighty objection against our sentiments 
as Baptists. They seemed to receive what I said 
in love, and to approve of it. I prayed with them, 
and so we parted. 

" Thursday noon, Sept. 23. Being disappointed 
of a place in the mail, I ordered a post-chaise, and 
advertised for a partner to Liverpool. A Jem 
wanted to go thither, and we took a post-chaise to 
gether. He proved an intelligent, but rather pro 
fane man. We had much talk on Christianity, and 
sometimes I thought him somewhat impressed. 
We had scarcely got out of Glasgow before he ob 
served something of the dissatisfaction we found in 
all our enjoyments. I acquiesced, and suggested 
that there must be some defect in the object, and 



thence inferred a future state. He did not seem 
free to pursue the subject ; but said, ' I am a Jew, 
and I consider you as a Christian divine ; I wish to 
do every thing to accommodate you during the jour 
ney.' I thanked him, and said I wished to do the 
same towards him in return. I presently found, 
however, that he was a Sadducee, holding with 
only the Five Books of Moses, and those very loose 
ly ; suggesting of Moses, that though he was a 
great and good man in his day, yet, it was his 
opinion, there had been much more learned men 
since. He also began ' accommodating ' me with 
curses and oaths on the most trifling occasions. 
Finding I had a compound of infidelity and profliga 
cy to contend with, and about a fifty-hours' journey 
before me, in which I should be cooped up with 
him night and day, I did not oppose him much at 
first ; but let him go on, waiting for fit occasions. 
I asked for a proof of Moses's ignorance. Jew. 
' He spoke of the earth as stationary, and the sun 
as rising and setting.' Fuller. ' And do not those 
that you call learned men speak the same in their 
ordinary conversation ? ' J. ' To be sure they do.' 
F. ' They could not be understood, nor under 
stand themselves, could they, if they were to speak 
of the earth's rising and setting ? ' J. ( True.' 
After a while, he praised the ten commandments. 
I acquiesced, and added, ' I have been not a little 
hurt, sir, in observing, since we have been together, 
how lightly you treat one of them, Thou shalt not 
take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ! ' 
J. ' I must own that is a bad habit : I have been 
told of it before.' We had no more swearing. 

" He talked, after this, of the merit of good 
works, and told me, at my request, much about 
their worship and ceremonies ; particularly their 
great day of atonement, which he said was very 
impressive. F. ' Do you offer sacrifices ? ' J. 
No ; not since the destruction of the temple ; ex 
cept it be a fowl or so, just as a representation of 
what has been.' F. ' And do you really think that 
the blood of any animal, or any of those ceremonies, 
can take away sin ? ' J. ' If you deny that, you 
deny the laws of Moses.' F. ' No ; the sacrifices 
of Moses were not designed to take away sin, but 

to prefigure a greater sacrifice.' He paused 

I added, ' Sir, you are a sinner, and I am a sinner ; 
we must both shortly appear before God. I know 
not upon what you rest your hopes. You have 
talked of human merit. I have nothing of the 
kind on which to place my trust. I believe we 
have all merited the displeasure of our Creator, and, 
if dealt with according to our deserts, must perish 
for ever. Sir, if our sins be not atoned for by a 
greater sacrifice than any that were offered under 



CONVERSATION WITH A JEW. 



Ixix 



the law of Moses, we are undone.' He seemed 
impresM-d by this, and owned that according to their 
law. and confessions on the day of atonement, they 
were all sinners, and that their good works could 
not save them. I then endeavoured to point him 
to Christ, as the only hope ; but he began to make 
objections to his conception by the power of the 
Holy Spirit. F. ' That was no more impossible 
than God's making the first man and woman.' J. 
' True ; but God having made these, the rest are 
born by ordinary generation.' F. ' You might as 
well say that God having given the sea its laws, it 
moves in future according to them, and therefore 
the Red Sea could not have been divided. Your 

jument goes to deny all miracles.' J. ' We think 
charitably of you, but you do not of us.' F. ' How 
can you think well of us, when you consider us as 
deluded by an impostor ? ' J. We think well of 
all that do good.'/ 7 . 'So do we. But what a 
singular impostor must Jesus have been, if he was 
sne ! Did you ever know or read of such a one, 
either as to doctrine or manners ? ' J. ' Who wrote 
the life of Jesus ? ' F. ' Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John.' J. ' Very well : were not they his disciples, 
and therefore partial to him ? ' F. ' You might as 
well object to all the books of the Old Testament ; 

they were not written by adversaries.' J. 

* Ah, he should have come down from the cross, and 
then all would have believed on him ! ' F. ' If 
evidence had been the thing that was wanted, why 
did not the resurrection of Lazarus satisfy them ? ' 
J. ' That was a doubtful matter. I reckon Jesus 
was a learned man ; Lazarus might not be dead, but 
only apparently so ; and he might make an experi 
ment upon him ; as many have done since, and re 
stored suspended animation.' F. ' Did you ever 
read the New Testament ? ' J. ' Yes, I read it 
when a boy of eight years old.' F. ' And not 
since ? ' J. l No.' F. ' What then can you know 
about it ? You only take up the objections of your 
rabbis ' (whom he had a little before acknowledged 
to be, many of them, no better than learned knaves) ; 
' if you had read and considered the history of the 
resurrection of Lazarus, you could not object as 
you do.' 

" After this, I asked him what he thought of pro 
phecy? ' Prophecy! ' said he, ' I have often, when 
a boy, looked at the clouds, and seen in them horses 
and chariots, and I know not what ! ' F. ' I un 
derstand you ; but it is strange that imagination 
should find, in the prophecies, the substance of all 
succeeding history. Were not all the great empires 
that have been in the world, from the times of 
Daniel to this day, namely, the Babylonian, the 
Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman, with their 



various subdivisions, clearly foretold by him?' He 
would make no answer to this, but treated it all as 
fable. ' They talk,' said he, ' of our being restored 
to the Promised Land. I will tell you the whole 
mystery of it. Those of us who have plenty \\ish 
for no other promised land ; but those that are poor 
would be glad enough to better their condition ! ' 

" He complained of the persecutions that the 
Jews had undergone from Christians. I disavowed 
all such treatment, as the conduct of wicked men. 
' But,' said he, ' you have been, even in this war, 
fitlh ting far your religion.' I answered, ' Those 
who profess to fight for religion, fight for the want 
of it; and Christianity employs none but spiritual 
weapons.' I also assured him that real Christians 
felt a tender regard towards them, and loved them 
for their fathers' sake. ' Yes,' said he, sneerinirly, 
' the good people at Glasgow pray, every Sunday, 
for our conversion ! ' I answered, ' Very likely ; it 
is what I have often done myself.' 

" When we got to Liverpool, he requested that, 
when I came to London, I would call and see him. 
I told him I would, on one condition, which was 
that he would permit me to present him with a New 
Testament, and promise to read it carefully. He 
consented ; but, that he might put far from him the 
evil day, proposed that if, when I called to see him, 
I would bring one with me, he would read it. I 
saw no more of him ; but meeting with a ' Gospel 
its own Witness,' in Liverpool, in which is an ' Ad 
dress to the Jews,' I wrapt it up in paper, and sent 
it to him at his inn, having written withinside as fol 
lows : ' A small token of respect from the author, 
to Mr. D. L. A., for his friendly attentions to him 
on a journey from Glasgow to Liverpool, Sept. 23, 
24, 25, 1802. 

" After all, in reflecting upon it, I felt guilty in 
having said so little to purpose ; and was persuaded 
that, if I had been more spiritually-minded, I should 
have recommended my Lord and Saviour better 
than I did." 

On returning home, Mr. Fuller made the follow 
ing memorandum : 

" In riding from Manchester to Harborough, in 
the mail, I found myself in very profane company. 
I therefore, for the greater part of the journey, com 
posed myself, as if asleep. Near Loughborough, 
two gentlemen followed us in a post-chaise, one of 
them wishing to take my place when we got to 
Harborough. We dined at Leicester, and, the 
gentleman being in the inn-yard, I went to him, and 
offered him my place from Leicester, proposing to 
ride on the outside as far as Harborough. He 
thanked me, but declined it. He added, ' I think 
I have seen you, sir, before.' He dined with us ; 



Ixx 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



and, while at dinner, seeing my portmanteau mark 
ed A. F. K., he asked me, before our company, if 
my name was not Fuller. I told him it was. He 
then thanked me, not only for my kind offer of my 
place, but for a late publication, which he had read 
with unusual satisfaction. I made but little answer; 
only inquiring his name, which I found to be Lee, 
of the Old Jewry, a hearer of Mr. Newton. As 
soon as we got into the coach, (Mr. Lee was not 
with us, but followed in a post-chaise,) my former 
swearing companions were all mute, and continued 
so for the greater part of the journey. One of them, 
however, who had been more civil and sober than 
the rest, addressed himself to me : ' I perceive, sir,' 
said he, ' by what was said at dinner, that you are 
an author. Will you excuse me if I ask what it is 
that you have published ? ' I told him I was a 
Christian minister, and had published a piece in de 
fence of Christianity. He expressed a wish to see 
it. He then talked to me, as one would talk to a 
literary man, on the English language, composi 
tion, &c. I asked him if he was an Englishman ? 
He answered, ' No ; I am a Prussian.' He in 
quired if I had read Junius's Letters. I told him 
I had heard pretty much of them, but had not 
read them, as they were not particularly in my way. 
' Oh,' said he, ' you must read them, by all means ; 
I will send you a copy of them.' I thanked him, 
and, as he had expressed a wish to see. what I had 
written, we would, if agreeable to him, make an 
exchange. To this he agreed, and we exchanged 
addresses. His was Count D., at the Prus 
sian ambassador's, London. Finding him to be 
one of the Prussian ambassador's suite, I asked 
him many questions about the civil and ecclesias 
tical affairs of Prussia. Respecting the former, he 
said, what advantages we had by the law they had, 
in a good measure, by custom ; that, though the 
king's will was law, yet custom so swayed it as to 
make it very little oppressive. He mentioned the 
king's having a desire for a poor man's field that 
lay near his ; that the owner was unwilling, and the 
matter was referred to the College of Justice, who 
advised the king not to insist upon it ; and he did 
not. He spoke of religious matters as attended 
with toleration. The Mennonites, who I suppose 
are Antipaedobaptists, he described as enthusiasts, 
much like the Quakers, who have no regular cler 
gymen, but any of them get up and speak, as they 
feel themselves inspired. How far his account is 
to be depended upon I cannot tell. On parting 
with my company, I came home, and found all well. 
Thanks, as dear brother Pearce said after his jour 
ney to Ireland, thanks to the Preserver of men ! " 



Though the journeys thus undertaken on behulf 
of the mission introduced Mr. Fuller to scenes of 
controversy, their advantages soon became sufficient 
ly apparent, irrespective of the promotion of the 
missionary cause ; for, besides the tendency of free 
discussion to elicit and establish truth, the inter 
course maintained exercised a favourable influence 
on the minds of many who had suffered themselves 
to be carried away by partial representations of his 
sentiments. Not only was this the case in Scotland 
and the north of England, but a visit to the southern 
coast, in the beginning of 1804, also furnished a 
remarkable example of it. 

Mr. Fuller mentions a person at Portsea, where 
he met with much unexpected kindness, as thus 
accosting him : " ' Sir, I was greatly disappointed 
in you.' ' Yes, and I in you.' ' I mean in hearing 
you last Lord's-day morning ; I did not expect to 
hear such a sermon from you.' ' Perhaps so ; and 
I did not expect such treatment from you. I had 
heard things of the Portsea people which gave me 
but a mean opinion of them ; but I have hitherto 
no cause to complain ; so that we are both agree 
ably disappointed.' ' Well, but I do not like your 
book.' ' You do not understand it.' ' Oh, I can 
not believe faith to be a duty : we cannot believe.' 
' You seem to think we ought to do nothing but 
what we can do.' ' True.' 'And we can do no 
thing.' 'True.' 'Then we ought to do nothing 
. . . . and if so we have no sin, and need no Sa 
viour.' ' Oh no, no, no ! I want to talk more with 
you.' ' Yes, but the mischief is, you cannot count 
five.' ' What do you mean ?' ' First, you say, we 
ought to do nothing but what we can do. Second 
ly, we can do nothing. Then I say, thirdly, we 
ought to do nothing. Fourthly, we have no sin. 
Fifthly, we need no Saviour.' After all, this per 
son, and all of that stamp, were greatly interested 
in the preaching, and pressed me to go to their 
houses ; would have it that I was of their princi 
ples, &c., and were much concerned when I went 
away. I told them I thought very differently from 
them in various respects ; but they took all well ; 
and I prayed with them before we parted." 

His attention was this year drawn to one of those 
intolerant enactments for which the Jamaica legis 
lature has so pre-eminently distinguished itself. He 
immediately drew up a memorial on the subject, 
which being presented to the privy council was 
favourably received. 

It was in June, 1804, that Mr. Fuller visited Ire 
land, hoping not only to receive pecuniary aid for 
the mission from the wealthy professors of religion 
in Dublin, but to confirm the important services 
rendered to the churches of that city and neighbour- 



JOURNEY TO IRELAND. 



hood by the lamented Pearce, and establish a con 
nexion which, while it tended to remove from those 
churches the frigid influence of Sandemanianism, 
mitrht prove mutually beneficial to the spiritual in 
terests of both countries. 

Writing, soon after his arrival, to his friend Dr. 
RyUmd, he says, " My heart is dismayed to see 
the state of tilings here. The great body of the 
people are papists. Even the servants, in almost 
every family, are papists. The congregations are 
only a few genteel people scattered about the place. 
They appeared to me like the heads at Temple Bar, 
without bodies. A middle class of people is want 
ing ; and the poor are kept distinct by what appears 
as strong as the caste in India. I preached at the 
Baptist meeting, in Swift's Alley, morning and 
evening, and for Dr. M'Dowal, at the Presbyterian 
chapel : I might preach, perhaps, to fifty in the 
morning ; to two hundred in the afternoon, in a 
place that would hold a thousand ; and to fifty more 
in the evening. 

" I have been much engaged in company, yester 
day and Monday. I was visited yesterday by Mr. 
Walker, a Sandemanian clergyman, who has con 
siderable influence in this city, and who pronounces 
of one of the dissenting ministers here that he 
preaches the gospel (because he seems likely to em 
brace Sandemanianism) ; but the Baptist and the 
Moravian ministers do not ! I found him, like most 
of the sect, calm, acute, versed in the Scripture, 
but void of feeling. He reminded me of Dr. By 
ron's lines : 

['Tis] Athens' owl, and not Mount Zion's dove, 
The bird of learning, not the bird of love. 

" I am told that one of this stamp lately prayed 
in public, ' Lord, give me head knowledge ; the 
rest I leave to thee.' The clergyman said to me, 
' There are many who call themselves Calvinists 
who are as far from the truth as Arminians.' I 
; asked what Calvinists he referred to, and what senti 
ments. He said, ' Those who hold with qualifica- 

I turns as necessary to warrant a sinner's believing.' 
I answered, I did not know who they were that be- 

\ lieved so. Mr. Stennett, who sat by, said, ' Some 

. of the high Calvinists might.' I assented to this, 

but said I utterly disapproved of it ; though I could 

not, as Mr. W. seemed to do, condemn all as grace- 

|| less who held it. He seemed surprised, and ex- 

t pressed his pleasure that I disapproved of the 

i principle ; plainly proving that he, with other San- 

i demanians, confounds our pleading for a holy dis- 

I 1 posit ion as necessary to believing (or necessary to 
[i incline us to believe) with pleading for it as giving 

i us a warrant to believe." 

In a letter addressed to Mr. Coles, Mrs. F.'s fa 



ther, he thus alludes to this visit : " I have enjoyed 
but little comfort in Ireland ; yet I hope I have de 
rived some profit. The doctrine of the cross is more 
dear to me than when I went. I wish I may never 
preach another sermon but what shall bear some 
relation to it. I see and feel, more and more, that 
except I eat the flesh and drink the blood of the 
Son of man I have no life in me either as a Chris 
tian or as a minister. Some of the sweetest oppor 
tunities I had in my journey were in preaching 
Christ crucified : particularly on those passages, 
' Unto you that believe he is precious ' ' This is 
my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear 
ye him' 'He that hath the Son hath life,' &c. 
' That they all may be one,' &c. But I feel that if 
I were more spiritually-minded I should preach bet 
ter and bear trials better." 

It does not appear that the objects of his visit to 
this country were, at that time, in any considerable 
degree realized. He was grieved to find the prin 
cipal Baptist community in Dublin under the influ 
ence of the most pernicious errors in doctrine and 
practice. Many of the members had imbibed prin 
ciples which, to say the least, verged on Socinian- 
ism, while the amusements of the theatre and the 
card-table were tolerated, and even defended. 
Having refused, under these circumstances, to 
comply with their invitation to the Lord's table, he 
encouraged the more godly portion of the church to 
form themselves into a separate community, who, 
on their secession, left behind them this assurance, 
" that if at any future time the church should re 
store that purity of communion which is essential to 
a Christian society, they should be ready to join 
heart and hand with them." 

Having on his return written some " Remarks on 
the State of the Baptist Churches in Ireland," with 
especial reference to the disorders above alluded to, 
a reply to them was made in the Irish circular letter 
addressed to the members of those churches respect 
ively, and accompanied with an ambiguous declara 
tion of the theological sentiments of the parties. 
This was inserted in a monthly journal, in which 
Mr. Fuller offered some observations in reply ; par 
ticularly noticing the absence of all mention of the 
vicarious sacrifice and imputed righteousness of 
Christ of the distinct personality of the Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit and of any avowed intention 
of supplying their acknowledged deficiency in dis 
cipline. He further remarked, that if his construc 
tion of their statement, as it related to these parti 
culars, was not founded in truth, he knew of no 
obstacle to the reunion of the seceding portion of 
the church. 

Though this was not effected, considerable good 



Ixxii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



was elicited by the discussion, and the subsequent 
operations of the " Baptist Irish Society " have been 
accompanied in a remarkable degree by the Divine 
blessing, not only in reviving the drooping interests 
of religion in the churches already established, but in 
the formation of others, chiefly by accessions from the 
Roman Catholic portion of the community, multitudes 

of whom have been truly converted to God by the 
instrumentality of itinerant readers of the Scriptures. 

Greatly as Mr. Fuller was esteemed in the 
various parts of the British empire, in no country 
were his talents and character more fully appreciated 
than in the United States, where his writings ob 
tained an extensive circulation ; while some of the 
divines of that country, of whose piety and talents 
he cherished the highest possible opinion, were in 
frequent habits of communication with him. 

As early as 1798 the college of New Jersey had 
conferred on him the honorary degree of D. D., the 
use of which, however, he respectfully declined, 
alleging his deficiency of those literary qualifications 
which would justify the assumption of academic 
honours, as well as his conscientious disapprobation 
of such distinctions in connexion with religion. In 
May, 1805, he received a similar testimony from 
Yale College, accompanied by the following letter 
from the celebrated Dr. Dwight : 

"New Haven, (Connecticut,) March 18, 1805. 
" SIR, 

" The corporation of Yale College at the last pub 
lic commencement conferred on you the degree of 
Doctor of Divinity. The diploma, which is the evi 
dence of this act, you will receive with this letter. 
Both will be conveyed, and, if it should not be too 
inconvenient, handed to you by Benjamin Silliman, 
Esquire, professor of chemistry in this seminary. 

" As this act is the result of the knowledge of your 
personal character and your published works only, 
and as such degrees are not inconsiderately given by 
this body, I flatter myself that, it will be regarded by 
you in the light of a sincere testimony of respect to you. 
" The gentleman who is the bearer of this letter 
is holden in high esteem here, as a man, a scholar, 
and a Christian. Such civilities as you may think 
proper to render to him will be gratefully acknow 
ledged by me. 

" Please to accept my best wishes for your per 
sonal welfare and your success in your ministerial 
labours, and be assured that I am, very respectfully, 
your affectionate friend and brother, 

" TIMOTHY DWIGHT, 
" President of Yale College. 
" Rev. Doctor Fuller." 



To this communication Mr. Fuller returned the 
following answer : 

DEAR SiR, " Bettering, June 1, 1805. 

" I yesterday received, enclosed in a letter from 
Mr. Silliman, a diploma from Yale College, with a 
letter from yourself. Considering it as a token of 
respect, and expressive of approbation of what I 
have published, I feel myself greatly obliged by it ; 
and could I reconcile it to my judgment and feelings 
to make use of such a title of distinction from any 
quarter, there is none which I should prefer to that 
which you have done rne the honour to communi 
cate. Eieht years ago I received the same expres 
sion of esteem from the college of New Jersey, and 
acknowledged it in much the same manner in a 
letter to Dr. Hopkins. With this it is possible you 
are not unacquainted ; and, if so, I may presume 
you and your colleagues meant it purely as a token 
of respect, without supposing that, after having de 
clined it in one instance, I could with any propriety, 
even were I so disposed, accept it in another. 

"The writings of your grandfather, President 
Edwards, and of your uncle, the late Dr. Edwards, 
have been food to me and many others. Our bre 
thren Carey, Marshman, Ward, and Chamberlain, 
in the East Indies, all greatly approve of them. 
The President's sermons on justification have afford 
ed me more satisfaction on that important doctrine 
than any human performance which I have read. 
Some pieces which I have met with of yours have 
afforded me much pleasure. 

" I have requested Mr. Silliman to procure of my 
bookseller all that he can furnish of what I have 
published, which I hope you will accept and furnish 
with a place in the college library, as a token of 
my grateful esteem." 

" I am, dear Sir, 
" Yours with respect and affection, 

"ANDREW FULLER." 

In June this year, the interests of the mission again 
called Mr. Fuller to Scotland. His journal of this vi 
sit records the following interesting occurrences : 

"Saturday, July 12th, reached Aberdeen at 
about six in the evening. Paid my respects to 
several of the ministers, professors, &c., and ad 
justed the work of the sabbath. I agreed to spend 
the forenoon with a few Baptists, who meet in an 
upper room ; the afternoon to preach and collect 
among the Independents in Mr. Haldane's connex 
ion ; and in the evening at the Independents' place 
called the Lock Chapel. 

" Lord's-day. At the morning meeting I found 
eight or ten Baptists, residing in Aberdeen. They 



THIRD JOURNEY TO SCOTLAND. 



were not in a state of fellowship ; and whether they 
were sufficiently united to be formed into a church 
appeared rather doubtful. At the same time three 
persons applied to me for baptism. The first was 
a young man who had been a Socinian, but pro 
fessed of late to be convinced of the way of salva 
tion through the atonement of Christ, and of all the 
other corresponding doctrines. The next was a 
simple-hearted man, with whose religious profession 
I was well satisfied. The third was a woman, and 
hers was a singular case. 

" As I was going to the morning meeting, I was 
called aside by a respectable minister, and told to 
this effect ' You will be requested to baptize a 
woman before you leave Aberdeen. I have no pre 
judice against her on account of her being a Bap 
tist ; but I think it my duty to tell you that she was 
a member of one of our churches in this neighbour 
hood, and was excluded for bad conduct.' ' What 
conduct ? ' ' Dishonesty towards her creditors.' 
' Very well ; I thank you for the information, and 
will make a proper use of it.' 

" Though I was applied to at the morning meet 
ing to baptize these persons, I did not hear their 
personal professions till after the evening sermon. 
They then came to my inn, where I conversed with 
each one apart. When the woman was introduced, 
the following is the substance of what passed be 
tween us. ' Well, Margaret, you have lived in the 
world about forty years ; how long do you think you 
have known Christ?' 'A little more than a year.' 
' What, no longer ?' ' I think not.' ' And have 
you never professed to know him before that time ? ' 
' Yes. and was a member of an Independent church 
for several years.' ' A member of a church, and 
did not know Christ ! how was that ? ' ' I was 
brought up to be religious, and deceived myself and 
others in professing to be so.' ' And how came you 
j to leave that church ?' ' I was cut off.' ' What, 
; because you were a Baptist?' ' No, because of my 
bad conduct.' 'Of what, then, had you been guilty?' 
-' My heart was lifted up with vanity I got in 
| debt for clothes and other things ; and then prevari 
cated, and did many bad things.' ' And it was for 
^Ihese things they cut you off?' ' Yes.'' And do 
'you think they did right?'' Oh yes.'' And how 
'came you to the knowledge of Christ at last?' 
1 When I was cut off from the church, I sunk into 
Mhe deepest despondency I felt as an outcast from 
fGod and man I wandered about, speaking, as it 
jirere, to nobody, and nobody speaking to me. My 
| burden seemed heavier than I could bear. At that 
(time a passage or two of Scripture came to my mind, 
and I was led to see that through the cross of Christ 
there was mercy for the chief of sinners. I wept 



much, and my sin was very bitter. But I saw t here 
was no reason to despair ; for the blood of Jesus 
Christ cleanseth from all sin. It is from thence I 
date my conversion.'' And do the minister, and 
the church of which you were a member, know of 
all this ? '-Yes.'-' Why did you not go and con 
fess it before them, and be restored ?' ' Partly be 
cause I have removed my situation some miles from 
them ; and partly because I felt in my conscience 
that I was a Baptist.' 

* After the conversation, I saw the minister who 
had Md me of her, and informed him of the whole ; 
addmgHhat the church in his connexion had done 
well in e^luding Margaret, and the Lord, I hoped 
had blesse^ it to her salvation. He could not ob 
ject to the ptyriety of my conduct in baptizing her, 
on my own prv, c iples. Next morning I rose at five 
o'clock, and barbed the three persons at a mill-dam 
about five miles ^ m the city ; whither we went in 
a post-chaise, ano, returned about eight o'clock. 
There were upwaro\ o f a hundred people present." 
" Thursday, July fc travelled nearly forty miles 
to-day along the weste\ coast , bearing southward. 
About six o'clock we r\ cne d Saltcoats. Here I 
found that the parish mister, on hearing that I 
was to collect at the BurW meeting-house, re 
solved to have a sermon a\he same hour in the 
church, and a collection for th\ Bible Society. He 
said, however, that if I chose \ pre ach the sermon 
in the church, and let the i 
the Bible Society, I was welcomed do so. As soon 
as this was mentioned to me by aw her person I 
immediately sent to the clergyman, o\ r i n g to relin 
quish my own object, and, if he was\g re eable, to 
preach the sermon in the church, in faV ur O f the 
Bible Society. This he acceded to, and Vailed on 
him before worship. I then observed thaM ie must 
be aware of what he had proposed being 
to the rules of the Assembly of the Church o\Scot- 
land ; and that I should be sorry if any ill c*nse- 
quences were to follow on my account. He refljed 
that his presbyters were well disposed, and\ e 
had no fears on that head. I then preached tk 
sermon, and pleaded with all the energy I could foi 
the Bible Society. After worship, I went to my inn :\ 
then called to sup and lodge with the clergyman. 
(Such is the custom in Scotland.) While sitting 
in his house, I told him I felt happy in the oppor 
tunity of expressing my regard for the Bible So 
ciety, and requested him to add my guinea to the 
collection. But during my call at the inn, after 
worship, he had consulted with his friends on the 
subject of my having been deprived of a collec 
tion. He therefore answered me by saying, ' I can 
not accept your guinea ; and, moreover, I must 



Ixxiv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



insist on your accepting half the collection for your 
object ; and you must make no objection whatever to 
it. Such is the conclusion of our session.' Finding 
him quite resolute, I yielded, and took half the col 
lection, which, however, did not amount to 6." 

The departure of some missionaries with their 
wives, early in 1806, gave occasion to a valuable 
epistolary communication from Mr. Fuller, an ex 
tract from which may serve as a specimen of the 
affectionate correspondence which he maintained 
with his missionary brethren. 



MY VERT DEAR BRETHREN AND 

" There is the greatest necessity for us all to 
keep near to God, and to feel that we are in that 
path of which he approves. This wil' sustain us in 
times of trial. The want of this can"* be supplied 
by any thing else. Beware of tbse things which 
draw a veil between him and you or that render a 
throne of grace unwelcome. T God be with you, 
you shall do well; you shall be blessings among 
the sailors, among the breth-'n in India, and among 
the natives. Be very con^rsant with your Bibles. 
The company we keep, a- d the books we read > in ' 
sensibly form us into th same likeness. I love to 
converse with a Chrifian whose mind is imbued 
with the sentiments >f the Scriptures. I find it 
advantageous to reM a part of the Scriptures to 
myself before priv-te prayer, and often to turn it 
into prayer as I r ad it. Do not read the Scrip 
tures merely as teachers, in order to find a text, or 
something to s^ to the people, but read them that 
you may get r>d to your own souls. Look at the 
Saviour as >e walks, as he walks before you; and 
then pointthers to him, John i. 35. 

" Nex'to communion with your God and Saviour, 
cherish jve to one another. Good sense and good 
tempermay preserve you from falling out by the 
way, md exposing yourselves to the censure of 
specators ; but this is not enough. The apostolic 
pre-ept which is so often repeated ' Little children, 
lo-e one another,' includes more than an abstinence 
fom discord, or the routine of civility. You must 
enow one another, and love each other in the Lord. 
To do this, you must often think of the dying love 
of Christ towards you. When I have sometimes 
surveyed the church of which I am a pastor, in 
dividually, my mind has revolted from this member 
for this fault, and from another for that ; but when 
I have met them at the table of the Lord, one thought 
has dissipated all these hard things : ' Feed the 
church of God, which he hath purchased with his 
own blood ! ' Oh, (thought I.) if my Saviour could 
find in his heart to lay down his life for them, who 
am I that I should withhold the tenderest regards 



from them ? If he can forgive them, shall I be un- 

foro-iving ? Nay, more If he could lay down 

his life for me, and forgive me, who am I that I 
should cherish a hard and unforgiving heart towards 
ray brethren ? 

" My dear brethren, know nothing but Jesus 
Christ and him crucified. Be this the summit of 
your ambition. For you to live must be Christ. 
You may never be of that literary consequence 
which some are ; but if you possess a savour of 
Christ, you will be blessings in your generation ; and, 
when you die, your names will be precious not only 
in India and Britain, but in the sight of the Lord. 

" My dear sisters, it is not much that I have 
known of you ; but what I have has tended to en 
dear you to me. My heart is toward those young 
people in our Israel, of both sexes, who have offered 
themselves willingly in this Divine war ! Treat 
your husbands with an attentive, respectful, and 
obliging carriage, as I trust they will treat you. 
Treat each other as sisters, and the young wo 
man that goes out with you too. Compel her, 
when she parts with you, to part weeping. Tears 
of this sort are worth more than thousands of com 
pliments. Do not make confidants of one another 
in matters of offence ; but, in a gentle and tender 
way, get into the habit of communicating to the 
party her faults ; and encourage her to do the same by 
you. This rule will be necessary not only on your 
voyage, but through life. The God of all grace be 
with you ! Present my kind love to the dear Cap 
tain Wickes. Accept the same to yourselves. My 
wife and daughter unite in wishing you prosperity 
in the name of the Lord." 

The limits of this memoir will not admit of an 
extended selection from Mr. Fuller's correspondence 
with his friends ; but the following will suffice to 
show how feelingly he was accustomed to enter into 
their circumstances, and how deeply he was con 
cerned to promote their best interests. 

" MY DEAR FRIEND, 

" I find, by a letter, that you are in constant ex 
pectation of losing your son. Since the time that 
you and I corresponded, our circumstances, tempt 
ations, afflictions, and almost every thing else per 
taining to us, have undergone a change. We have 
each had a portion of parental care ; and now, hav 
ing passed the meridian of life, we begin to taste 
the cup of parental sorrow. We often talk of trials, 
without knowing much of what we say : that is a 
trial, methinks, which lays hold of us, and which 
we cannot shake off. If we say, ' Surely I could 
bear any thing but this ! ' this shall often be the ill 






CORRESPONDENCE WITH FRIENDS. 



Ixxv 



that we are called to bear ; and this it is that con 
stitutes it a trial. And why are afflictions called 
trials, but on account of their being sent to try 
what manner of spirit we are of? It is in these cir 
cumstances our graces appear, if we are truly gra 
cious, and our corruptions, if we be under the do 
minion of sin ; and too often, in some degree, if we 
be Christians. When I have experienced heavy 
trials, I have sometimes thought of the case of 
Aaron. He had two sons, fine young men, col 
leagues with their father; God accepted of their 
offering, and the people shouted for joy : every 

thing looked promising when, alas ! in the 

midst of their glory, they sinned ; and there went 
out a fire from the Lord, and devoured them. Well 
might the afflicted father say as he did : ' And such 
things have befallen me ! ' yet he ' held his peace.' 
I say, I have sometimes thought of this case, when 
I have been heavily afflicted ; and have employed 
my mind in this manner : Such things befell Aaron, 
the servant of the Lord, a much better man than I 
am : who am I that I should be exempted from the 
ills which are common to men, to good men, to the 
best of men ? Such things befell Aaron as have not 
yet befallen me. He had two children cut off to 
gether; I have never yet lost more than one at 
once. His were cut off by an immediate judgment 
from Heaven, and without any apparent space being 
given for repentance : thus have not mine been. 
Yet even Aaron held his peace ; and shall / mur 
mur ? ' The just shall live by faith.' God is telling 
us, in general, that all things work together for 
good to them that love him ; but he has not informed 
us how: nor is it common, under afflictions, to 
perceive the good arising from them. It is after 
wards that they yield the peaceable fruits of right 
eousness. If the Lord should remove your son, 
perhaps you are not without hopes of his salvation ; 
and if the event should cause you to feel more than 
you have yet felt of the perishable nature of all 
things under the sun, and draw your heart more 
towards himself and things above, where Jesus is, 
you may have occasion in the end to bless God for 
it. God knows we are strange creatures ; and that 
we stand in need of strange measures to restrain, 
humble, and sanctify us. 

" Give my love to your afflicted child, and give 
me leave to recommend to him, Him in whom alone 
he can be saved. I doubt not but you have recom 
mended Christ to him, as the Saviour of the chief 
of sinners ; yet you will not take it amiss if I ad 
dress the following few lines to him : 

*' MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, 

" You know but little of me, nor I of you ; but 



I love you for your parents' sake. While health 
and spirits were afforded you, you thought, I pre 
sume, but little of dying ; and perhaps what you 
heard by way of counsel or warning, from the pul 
pit or from other quarters, made but little impres 
sion upon you. A future world appeared to you a 
sort of dream, rather than a reality. The gratifi 
cation of present desire seemed to be every thing. 
But now that Being against whom you have sinned 
has laid his hand upon you. Your present affliction 
seems to be of the nature of a summons : its lan 
guage is, ' Prepare to meet thy God, O sinner ! ' 
Perhaps you have thought but little of your state 
as a lost sinner before him ; yet you have had suf 
ficient proof, in your own experience, of the de 
generacy and dreadful corruption of your na 
ture. Have you learned from it this important 
lesson ? If you have, while you bewail it before 
God, with shame and self-abhorrence, you will em 
brace the refuge set before you in the gospel. The 
name of Christ will be precious to your heart. God 
has given him to be the Saviour of the lost ; and, 
coming to him as worthy of death, you are welcome 
to the blessing of eternal life. No man is so little 
a sinner but that he must perish for ever without 
him ; and no man so great a sinner as that he need 
despair of mercy in him. He has died, the just for 
the unjust, that he may bring us to God. His 
blood cleanse th from sin, and the benefits of it are 
free. The invitations of the gospel are universal. 
Though God would never hear the prayers or regard 
the tears of a sinner, like you, for your own sake; 
yet he will hear from heaven, his dwelling-place, 
that petition which is sincerely offered in the name 
of his Son. Repent of your sin, and you shall 
find mercy : believe his gospel with all your heart, 
and you shall live. Plead the worthiness of Christ 
as the ground of acceptance, to the utter rejection 
of your own, and God will graciously hear, forgive, 
and save you. Every one that thus asketh receiv- 
eth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him that 
knocketh the door of mercy shall be opened. In 
all your supplications for mercy, be sure you found 
your petitions on the worthiness of Christ alone. 
But if you can see no loveliness in him, nor beauty 
that you should desire him, depend upon it you are 
yet in your sins, and, so dying, you must perish. 
I do not know whether you have, at any time, been 
inclined to listen to the abominable suggestions of 
infidels ; but if you have, you now perceive that 
those are principles that will not stand by you in 
the near approach of death. If the Lamb of God, 
that taketh away the sin of the world, be not now 
a comfort to you, you are comfortless. Look to 
him, my dear young friend, and live." 



Ixxvi 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



To a member of the church : 



'' MY DEAR FRIEXD , 

" I received your letter, and was affected in read 
ing it. Ah ! is it so, that you have indulged in se 
cret sin for seven or eight years past, and that God, 
the holy and the jealous God, has now given you up 
to open sin, and that you have in a manner lost all 
power of resistance ! 

" It is not in my power, nor that of any creature, 
to enable you to decide upon your former experience, 
while you are in this state of mind. If an apostle 
stood in doubt of a backsliding people, (Gal. iv. 
20,) we must do the same and even of ourselves, 
or, which is worse, our confidence will be delusion. 
The tree can only be known by its fruits. If the 
reproaches of the world, and the censures of the 
church, lead you to repentance if you not only 
confess but forsake both your secret and open sins, 
and return to God by Jesus Christ you will yet ob 
tain mercy ; and these visitations of God will prove to 
have been the ' stripes' of a Father on a disobedient 
child. But if you persist in your sins, you will 
prove yourself an enemy, and ' God will wound the 
head of his enemies ; and the hairy scalp of such 
a one as goeth on still in his trespasses,' Psal. 
Ixviii. 21. 

" There certainly is such a thing as for a man to 
' hear the word and not do it,' and this is compared 
to the case of one who seeth his natural face in a 
glass, and straightway goeth away and forgetteth 
what manner of man he was,' and such are described 
as ' deceiving their own selves,' James i. 22 24. 
Perhaps there are few who have long sat under the 
preaching of the truth, but have at times beheld 
their own character and condition by it. Simon 
trembled, (Acts viii. 24,) and Felix trembled, Acts 
xxiv. 25. Often will conscience answer to the truth 
of what is spoken, even while some lust has the do 
minion over the soul. If, instead of producing a 
change of heart and life, these convictions be only 
transient if, on going from the means of grace and 
plunging into worldly cares and company, all is for 
gotten it is as when the seed was ' picked up by the 
fowls of the air.' And where these transient im 
pressions are mistaken for the grace of God in the 
heart, there men ' deceive their own selves.' 

" In your present condition do not attempt to de 
cide upon your past experiences. Your immediate 
concern is, whether you have ever repented and be 
lieved in Jesus before or not, now to repent and 
come to him. You may not be able to come as a 
backsliding Christian, but come as a guilty, perish 
ing sinner. The door of mercy is not yet shut upon 
you. Read and pray over the 130th Psalm; also 



the 32nd and 51st. When we think of the abound- 
ings of sin, it would seem as if none could be saved ; 
yet when we think of the superaboundings of grace, 
and of the preciousness of that blood that was shed 
upon the cross, and which cleanseth from all sin, 
we must acknowledge that none need despair. O 

friend ( i etrace your steps ! Come back come 

back ! lest you plunge ere you are aware into the 
pit whence there is no redemption. Read Jer. xxxi. 
1821. 

" When a parent loses, or is in danger of losing, 
a child, nothing but the recovery of that child can 
heal the wound. If he could have many other chil 
dren, that would not do it. Thus it was with Paul 
and the Corinthians: 'If I make you sorry, who 
is he that maketh me glad, but the same that is 
made sorry by me?' 2 Cor. ii. 2. Thus it is with 
me towards you. Nothing but your return to God 
and the church can heal the wound. What is my 
hope or joy or crown of rejoicing ? Are not ye ? 
Do not bereave me of my reward ! But and if it 
be so, the loss will be yours more than mine. If I 
have but the approbation of God, I shall be re 
warded ; my loss will be made up ; but who is to 



repair yours 



" I am still affectionately yours, 

" A. FTTLLER." 



In 1806, Mr. Fuller published his " Dialogues, 
Letters, and Essays on various Subjects." The 
latter part of this publication, under the title of 
Conversations between Peter, James, and John, 
personating Mr. Booth, himself, and Dr. Ryland, 
was designed to furnish the public with the sub 
stance of a series of private letters to Dr. R. on 
the topics in discussion between himself and Mr. 
Booth, which, as they contained some pointed ani 
madversions on the conduct of Mr. B., he had no 
wish to publish. The " Conversations " were dis 
tinguished not only by the absence of asperity, but 
by the development of the tenderest feelings of 
Christian affection. 

It had been more than once insinuated that the 
views which Mr. Fuller had so long and so strenuous 
ly advocated, respecting the universal obligation to 
a cordial reception of the gospel, would not admit 
of a practical application to the consciences of un 
godly persons, without a compromise of other im 
portant doctrines not less explicitly avowed. To 
evince the incorrectness of this surmise, as well as 
with the general design of doing good, he wrote 
the tract well known under the title of the " Great 
Question Answered." This address, which now 
forms one of the publications of the Religious Tract 
Society, has been translated into several of the con- 



CHARGE OF PERSECUTION. 



Ixxvii 



tinental languages, and obtained a most extensive 
circulation ; it has been rendered eminently useful 
in the conversion of sinners, and has not been want 
ing in testimonies of approbation from some of his 
most strenuous opponents. 

In the same year he published his " Expository 
Discourses on the Book of Genesis," a portion of 
sacred history which his own patriarchal simplicity, 
united with his deep knowledge of human nature, 
enabled him to illustrate with great felicity, and 
which the richness of evangelical sentiment per 
vading his mind qualified him to invest with pecu 
liar charms. 

It has been already intimated that the missionary 
undertaking had to encounter violent hostility, with 
which the secretary more than once successfully 
grappled. A remarkable example of this occurred 
in 1807. Certain individuals, not content with ex 
citing apprehensions in the minds of the authorities 
in India, circulated among the proprietors at home 
pamphlets of an alarming and inflammatory charac 
ter. These were written by Mr. Twining, Major 
Scott Waring, and a Bengal officer, and were fol 
lowed by the introduction of the subject in a general 
court of proprietors. Having speedily replied to 
those pamphlets, Mr. Fuller, who had received 
intimation of the meditated attack, attended the 
court for the purpose of watching the enemy's pro 
ceedings. It is sufficient to say that their attempts 
were triumphantly defeated, leaving them no alter 
native, but to seek new weapons of attack. In the 
mean time, an application to the Marquis Wellesley, 
who had recently retired from the presidency of In 
dia, secured to the Society his Lordship's cordial and 
powerful support. It was not long, however, before 
a favourable pretext was afforded to the enemies of 
religion for renewing the subject of their hostility 
before a court of proprietors. An expression re 
flecting on the character of Mahomet had, by the in 
advertency or maliciousness of a native translator, 
found its way into one of the tracts circulated by 
the missionaries in Bengal. This, for a time, 
brought them into disagreeable contact with the go 
vernment abroad, till a candid explanation and apo 
logy fully satisfied the governor in council. At the 
period of the introduction of this business to the 
court at home, which was early in 1808, Mr. Fuller 
received communications from the missionaries, 
gi\ ing a complete detail of the case, the circulation 
of which, accompanied by powerful appeals to the 
public, had the effect of once more defeating the pro 
jects of the enemy. The pamphlets written by Mr. 
Fuller, during this contest, appeared under the title 



of "An Apology for the late Christian Missions to 
India." 

Under date of January 27, 1808, he thus ad 
dresses his friend Dr. Ryland : " I last night re 
turned from Leicester, with a strong fever upon me, 
through excess of labour. I am a little better to- 
day. My Apology for the Mission would have been 
finished by this time ; but there are new pieces 
come out, as full of wrath as possible, which I am 
told I must notice. I am really distressed with 
public and private labours." 

Towards the close of this year, the generous and 
pressing calls of his northern friends once more 
brought him to Scotland. " I have been enabled," 
said he, on his return, " to collect as much as 2000 
in the course of six weeks, after a journey of 1200 
miles. God be praised for all his goodness, and 
for the abundant kindness shown towards me and 
towards the mission/' 

In 1809 a case occurred in relation to which the 
most strenuous efforts have been made to involve 
Mr. Fuller in the charge of persecution. To these 
efforts the gratuitous admissions of some of his 
friends have given considerable countenance. An 
attempt having been made by certain Socinians re 
sident at Soham to obtain possession of the place of 
worship belonging to the Calvinistic Dissenters, an 
appeal was made by the latter to the quarter ses 
sions, which Mr. Fuller, upon the footing of former 
friendship, was requested to aid in conducting. It 
was discovered in the course of the action that such 
was the ambiguity of the legal tenure by which their 
chapel was held, that no effectual method presented 
itself of maintaining their just right, but an appeal 
to certain statutes at that time in force against " im- 
pugners of the Holy Trinity." This, it appears, 
was made by some of Mr. Fuller's colleagues, less 
versed than himself in the principles of religious 
liberty. He was certainly chargeable with indiscre 
tion in placing himself in such a position as that 
others should be able to act without his knowledge, 
while he bore the principal share in the general pro 
ceedings and the responsibility connected with them. 
His " Narrative of Facts," published a considerable 
time afterwards, when the pressure of other matters 
had intervened, probably conveyed to the public 
mind a less favourable impression than a more dis 
tinct recollection of some minor particulars would 
have enabled him to make ; but the charge of wil 
ful falsehood must be added to that of persecution, 
if his own solemn declaration is not to be received, 
that he no sooner learned from his attorney tJte 
grounds on which the case was proceeding than 



Ixxviii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



he most unequivocally refused to advance an 
other step, alleging his unqualified disapproba 
tion of the laws in question. Had the writer of 
these lines the slightest demur respecting the truth 
of this statement, he would deem it most advisable 
to omit all reference to the subject. On the other 
hand, he can see no reason why, in order to escape 
the charge of partiality, he should suffer a character 
so beloved to lie under an unjust imputation, the 
more especially as one of his biographers, who at 
first laboured under the impression that Mr. Fuller's 
reputation must in this particular be sacrificed 
to justice, has since unequivocally declared, upon 
the most competent authority, that the onus of this 
proceeding lay upon another and not upon him 
that the charge against Mr. Fuller is transferred 
" from his character to his discretion, from his prin 
ciples to his prudence ; and that it is to the latter 
only that any imputation can fairly attach." 

From this ungracious contest Mr. Fuller found 
relief in the most cheering proofs of the success of 
his ministry. Writing to Dr. Ryland in 1810, he 
says, " There appears to be so much of an earnest 
inquiry after salvation among our young people, 
that I feel it necessary to be absent from them as 
short a time as possible. We have a weekly meet 
ing in the vestry for all who choose to come for con 
versation .... Our Monday and Friday night 
meetings are much thronged the discourses in the 
latter have been mostly addressed to persons under 
some concern about their salvation." 

It was, nevertheless, during these pleasing do 
mestic engagements, in which his soul delighted, 
that he produced one of his most elaborate con 
troversial pieces, entitled " Strictures on Sande- 
manianism." This publication, which closes a 
twenty years' controversy on faith, was suggested 
by the repeated attacks he had sustained from the 
followers of Messrs. Glass and Sandeman in Scot 
land and Ireland, and contains, in addition to the 
main questions in debate, some animadversions on 
the ecclesiastical polity of that body, which had in 
a greater or less degree influenced the organization 
of most of the churches in those countries. 

In March, 1812, Mr. Fuller received intelligence 
of the death of his nephew Joseph Fuller, of whose 
future eminence and usefulness in the cause of God 
he had cherished the fondest hopes. The following 
account of this extraordinary youth is communicated 
in a letter to his beloved preceptor, Dr. Ryland : 

" MY DEAR BROTHER, 

" I have just received yours, and by the same 
post one from Little Bentley, dated the 23d, of 
which the following is an extract : ' This morning, 



about a quarter after seven o'clock, our dear Joseph 
left this world of sin and sorrow, and we trust is 
entered into rest. He could not talk much ; but 
said, That gospel which I have recommended to 
others is all my support in the prospect of death. 
He was sensible to the last.' Thus God has blasted 
our hopes concerning this lovely youth. He was 
eighteen years old last October. 

" Now it is fresh upon my mind, I will give you 
a few particulars of such things concerning him as 
fell under my notice : 

"In July, 1806, I took Mrs. Fuller to Bentley, 
on a visit to my brother and his family. Joseph 
was then under thirteen years old. We observed 
in him a talent for learning ; and his parents seemed 
to think him not much suited to their business. 
Mrs. F. therefore proposed that he should come 
and live with us, and improve his learning. The 
following October he came, and we sent him to 
school, to our friend Mr. Mason, of Rowell. After 
being there three months, he spent the winter holi 
days at our house. One day he was looking over 
the Greek alphabet, and soon got it by heart. He 
obtained a few instructions before the holidays were 
ended ; and, on his returning to school, I spoke to 
my worthy friend, the Rev. Mr. Brotherhood, of 
Desborough, near Rowell, requesting the favour of 
his teaching him the Latin and Greek languages. 
With this request Mr. B. not only readily complied, 
but generously declined any recompence for his 
trouble. On an evening, after the school-hours at 
Rowell, Joseph would walk over to Desborough, 
and spend an hour or two with Mr. B., who with 
Mrs. B. treated him as a young friend, rather than 
as a pupil. His diligence, sobriety, and good sense 
raised him in their esteem ; and he had a great re 
spect and esteem for them. In this course he con 
tinued through the years 1807 and 1808. He could 
talk of religion, and, I believe, from his childhood, 
had thoughts of the ministry ; but as I saw no signs 
of real personal Christianity, I never encouraged 
anything of the kind. In the autumn, I think, of 
1808, we perceived an evident change in his spirit 
and behaviour. This was observed, not only at 
Kettering, but at Rowell. I found, too, that he 
wished to open his mind to me ; and I soon gave 
him an opportunity. The result was, we were 
satisfied of his being the subject of repentance to 
wards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. 
On April 30, 1809, I baptized him, and he became 
a member of the church at Kettering. Under these 
circumstances, I could not but think of his being 
employed in the work of the ministry, provided his 
own heart was in it. On gently sounding him upon 
it, I found it was. He was too much of a child to 



JOSEPH FULLER. 



Ixxiz 



be asked to speak before the church ; and yet we 
thought no time should be lost in improving hi? 
talents. A letter was therefore sent to the Bristol 
Education Society, through your hands, recom 
mending him as a pious youth of promising talents 
for the ministry. In August, the same year, he 
went to Bristol. At the vacation, in the summer of 
1810, he went home, and, on his return, towards 
the end of July, came by Kettering. At the church- 
meeting, he preached from 1 Cor. ii. 2, * For I de 
termined not to know any thing among you save 
Jesus Christ, and him crucified.' He was then 
under seventeen years of age, and a mere lad in ap 
pearance ; but his thoughts were just and mature. 

" From the first of his religious impressions, he 
expressed a desire to go to India as a missionary, 
if he were thought a suitable person. I did not 
discourage him, but told him he was too young, at 
present, to determine on a matter of such importance. 
On the above visit to us, in July, 1810, I inquired 
whether his mind continued the same on that sub 
ject. He answered, it did. 

" His journey from Kettering to Bristol, which 
(being very fond of walking) he principally per 
formed on foot, was, I fear, injurious to him. He 
got wet, as I afterwards learned, several times on the 
road. Towards the following Christmas, he told me, 
he began to feel the complaint on his lungs. It is 
now nearly a year, I suppose, since he left Bristol, to 
go to his father's house. After he had been there the 
greater part of the summer of 181 1, he paid a visit, 
for a month or two, to the new academy at Stepney, 
where he was treated with great kindness by Mr. 
and Mrs. Newman, as he had been, in the spring 
of the same year, by Mr. and Mrs. Burls. Indeed, 
I may say, at every place he ' grew in favour with 
God and man.' 

" Being myself in London, early in November, I 
took him with me down to Kettering. Here he 
stopped about six weeks ; during which we used 
means for the recovery of his health, but without 
effect. So far as his affliction would permit, he 
here enjoyed the company of his friends. He got 
over to Rowell, and to Desborough, to see his dear 
friends, Mr. Mason and Mr. Brotherhood. About 
Dec. 20, 1811, I took him to Cambridge, whence 
he was conducted home. On parting, we both wept, 
as not expecting to see each other again in the flesh. 
So it has proved. His father informs me, that on 
the last Lord's day in January, he was very desirous 
of going with him to Thorpe, to join in the Lord's 
supper ; which, though with much difficulty, he ac 
complished. His death is one of those mysteries 
in providence, not of very unfrequent occurrence, 
wherein God, after apparently forming and fitting 

r 



an instrument for usefulness in this world, removes 
it to another. But ' it is well.' I do not remember 
to have known a lad of his years who possessed 
more command of temper, or maturity of judgment, 
or whose mind seemed more habitually directed to 
the glory of God."' 

Dr. Ryland, speaking of the first discourse de 
livered by this youth, in the lecture room of the 
college, says, " I was obliged to suppress my feelings 
and hurry out of the room, that I might not let a 
lad of sixteen see how much I was delighted with 
what he had been uttering." % 

A pulmonary attack, during the preceding sum 
mer, had seriously affected Mr. Fuller's health ; 
and though he was so far restored as to undertake a 
journey of 600 miles, his exhausted powers and in 
creasing labours suggested the necessity of stated 
assistance in his pastoral duties, a service which 
was supplied by the Rev. J. K. Hall, a nephew of 
the late Rev. R. Hall. 

Early in May, Mr. Fuller took a journey into 
Wales. From Abergavenny he wrote to Mr. Sut- 
cliff. After speaking of the low state of his health, 
and alluding to some malicious censures against the 
Baptists and their missionary undertaking, he thus 
concludes, " Our wisdom is to be still and quiet, 
and to mind our own business. For my own part, 
my afflictions say to me, ' Study to show thyself 
approved unto God.' What empty things are the 
applauses of creatures, and how idle the pursuit 
of them ! I seem near the end of my course, and 
hope, through grace, and grace only, to finish it 
with joy. I have no transports, but a steady hope 
of eternal life, on the ground of my Saviour's death. 
I feel some freedom in my applications to God in 
his name. If I should die, I shall be able to say to 
the rising generation, ' God rvill surely visit you." 
A work is begun that will not end till the world be 
subdued to the Saviour. We have done a little for 
him, accompanied with much evil; the Lord 
grant that this may not be laid to our charge in 
that day.'' 

The close of this year brought the afflictive in 
telligence of the destruction of the printing estab 
lishment at Serampore by fire. The loss occasioned 
by this calamity was estimated at upwards of 
12,000. Much as this news affected Mr. Fuller, 
he predicted the speedy reparation of the injury. 
Being then on a tour in Norfolk, he hastened home 
to arrange for a general appeal to the benevolence 
of the Christian public. This was answered by 
prompt and liberal subscriptions in all parts of the 
United Kingdom, and in the United States of 



I XXX 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



America, which in a few weeks more than repaired 
the loss. On this occasion Mr. Fuller received the 
following testimony of Christian liberality from an 
eminent minister of the Establishment now de 
ceased : 

" From the time I heard of the fire at Serampore, 
I felt desirous to assist in repairing the loss, and 
promoting the important work of translating the 
Scriptures into the Oriental languages. I view the 
subject as presenting a common claim upon the 
Christian world, and regard, with highest estimation, 
th labours of your Society in the East Indies. 

" I have the pleasure to state that, including a 
donation remitted to me by my respected friend 
Dr. Kilvington, our collection at Bentinck Chapel, 
on Sunday last, has produced 130. 

" With my unfeigned prayer that the eternal 
God may prosper all these exertions to the pro 
motion of his glory and the benefit of his church, 
I am, dear sir, 

" Yours very faithfully, 

WOODD." 



On communicating to the late Rev. Legh Rich 
mond some pleasing intelligence from India, ac 
companied with specimens of type recast from the 
materials found in the ruins at Serampore, Mr. Ful 
ler received the following affectionate reply: 

" REV. AND DEAR BROTHER, 

" I receive your papers with thankful pleasure 
they seem like specimens dropped from the midst 
of heaven by the angel in his flight with the ever 
lasting gospel in his hand ..... Happy are those 
that can cultivate true brotherly love and respect, 
although they cannot in every thing think and act 
together. There is still a wide field for mutual 
operation there may be a few hedges and ditches 
to separate portions of the land ; but it is all one 
farm Glory be to the chief Husbandman and great 
Shepherd ] His grace and mercy be on such sub 
ordinate husbandmen and shepherds as you, and 
far more so 

" Your unworthy fellow labourer, 

" LEGH RICHMOND." 

It will be seen from the preceding pages that it 
was Mr. Fuller's happiness to be acquainted with 
many of the most eminent and pious of the estab 
lished clergy. Besides those to whom reference 
has already been made, we may mention Drs. Ers- 
kine and Chalmers in Scotland ; and in this coun 
try the Rev. John Owen and the venerable Ber- 
ridge : in a letter to his friend Ryland, he thus 
describes an interview with the latter : 



" As to my Everton journey, I wrote some 
thing, as it was then fresh upon my mind, better 
than I can now. I greatly admired that Divine 
savour which all along mingled itself with Mr. 
Berridge's facetiousness, and sufficiently chastised 
it. His conversation tended to produce a frequent 
but guiltless smile, accompanied with a tear of 
pleasure. His love to Christ appears to be intense. 
I requested him to give us a few outlines of his life 
and ministry. These were interesting, but too long 
to write. They will enrich an evening's conversa 
tion, if I come to Northampton. When he had 
gone through, I asked him to pray for us. He said 
he was so faint he could not yet, and requested me 
to pray. I prayed, and concluded as usual by asking 
all in Christ's name. He, without getting off his 
knees, took up the prayer where I had left it, in 
some such manner as this " O Lord God ! this 
prayer has been offered up in the name of JESUS : 
accept it, I beseech thee,' &c., for five or six minutes, 
in a most solemn and savoury manner. We then 
took leave, with solemn prayer for blessings on each 
other, as if we had been acquainted for forty years, 
and were never to see each other again in this world. 
The visit left a strong and lasting impression on 
my heart of the beauty of holiness of holiness 
almost matured." 

In 1813, on the renewal of the East India charter, 
Mr. Fuller visited the metropolis with a view to 
obtain the insertion of a clause granting a passage 
to the missionaries in British ships, instead of com 
pelling them to make a circuitous voyage by America, 
as well as affording that legal protection in India 
to which the peaceable conduct of the missionaries 
in that country, not less than their natural privileges 
as British subjects, entitled them. Accompanied 
by Messrs. Sutcliff, Ivimey, and Burls, he obtained 
an interview with the Earl of Buckinghamshire, 
which ended in the request of his Lordship to be 
furnished with a written statement of their wishes. 
Mr. Fuller lost no time in forwarding this to his 
Lordship, and a similar communication was also made 
to the Earl of Liverpool. Petitions to parliament 
were forwarded from the various communities of 
Dissenters, while vast numbers of pious Episcopa 
lians, feeling it to be a subject of common interest, 
joined in the appeal, which proved successful. 

The following short epistle from the venerable 
philanthropist whose name it bears was written to 
Mr. Fuller in allusion to the above event, and to 
certain interesting intelligence received from India. 

" MY DEAR SlR, " London, Nov. 29, 1813. 

" I return you many thanks for your friendly 



DEATH OF MR. SUTCLIFF. 



Ixxxi 



communication, and am sorry I did not receive it on 
Saturday till too late to write to you by return of 
the post. How striking that, at the very time when 
we were prosecuting our endeavours, Dr. Carey 
should be experiencing the need of such a regula 
tion as we solicited, and express his wishes for such 
permission as, through God's blessing, we finally ob 
tained ! In what manner we should proceed in respect 
of these transactions I am by no means as yet clear. 
The question deserves the most mature considera 
tion ; and I shall be happy to confer on it with like- 
minded friends. But it might assist us in forming 
a right decision to read the original correspondence, 
(if there are no parts of it which you had rather we 
should not peruse,) and, indeed, to receive all other 
information that you can give us : the more detailed 
and particular the better. But, my dear sir, joy ! 
jy! joy! I have scarcely restrained myself, 
from my first taking up the pen, from breaking out 
into these notes of exultation on the glad tidings 
which Dr. Carey's letter conveys tidings so glad, 
and so important, that the value of them can scarce 
ly be overrated. Five natives of high caste become 
Christians, keeping the Lord's day, and meeting for 
religious edification, without having had any inter 
course with the missionaries merely from reading 
the Scriptures, tracts, &c. besides the hundred 
hopefuls ! When I consider who and what Dr. 
Carey is and has been, and what encouragement the 
translations of the Scriptures into the native languages 
have received, I seem to hear in this incident the 
voice of the Almighty, saying, You are in the right 
path, press forward in it. I am much pressed for 
time to-day, and must break off, assuring you that 
I am ever, with cordial esteem and regard, yours 
very sincerely, 

" W. WlLBERFORCE." 

In the summer of this year Mr. Fuller paid his 
fifth and last visit to Scotland, where he was re 
ceived with renewed proofs of affection perfectly 
overwhelming to his feelings. An incident occur 
red at Edinburgh which evinces, amidst his ardu 
ous labours, a deep interest in the welfare of his 
fellow townsmen. Learning that the Northampton 
shire militia were in quarters at the castle, he went 
to see them, and, on finding four young men from 
Kettering, entered into conversation with them, in 
vited them to attend Divine worship, and, on his 
departure, presented one of them with a Bible. 

In 1814, Mr. Fuller received a warning of his 

own dissolution in that of his valued friend and 

counsellor Mr. Sutcliff. Under date of March 24, 

he writes to Dr. Ryland as follows : " I have just 

f 2 



received an alarming letter from Olney, and must 
go, if possible, to see our dear brother to-morrow. 
Brother Sutcliff was kept ten days in London, took 
two days to get home, his legs swelled, blisters were 
applied, which drew water. They fear he has water 
in his chest : he cannot lie down, for want of breath, 
but sits, night after night, in a large chair. Well ; 
the government is on His shoulders ; ours will soon 
be from under the load ; but while we are reducing 
in number and increasing in labour, it may be the 
heavier for a time. God grant we may finish our 
course with joy." 

Of this venerable man, who entered into his rest 
on the 22d of June, the late Rev. R. Hall engaged, 
at the solicitation of Mr. F., to furnish some ac 
count to the public an engagement from which he 
subsequently excused himself. His letter to Mr. 
Fuller on this occasion affords a striking specimen 
of his characteristic diffidence. 

" MY DEAR BROTHER, 

" I am truly concerned to be obliged to tell you 
that I cannot succeed at all in my attempts to draw 
the character of our dear and venerable brother 
Sutcliff. I have made several efforts, and have 
sketched out, as well as I could, the outlines of 
what I conceive to be his character, but have failed 
in producing such a portrait as appears to me fit for 
the public eye. I am perfectly convinced that your 
intimacy with him, and your powers of discrimina 
tion, will enable you to present to posterity a much 
juster and more impressive idea of him than I can. 
I am heartily sorry I promised it. But promises I 
hold sacred ; and therefore, if you insist upon it, 
and are not willing to release me from my engage 
ment, I will accomplish the task as well as I can. 
But if you will let the matter pass without re 
proaching me, sub silentio, you will oblige me con 
siderably. It appears to me, that if I ever pos 
sessed a faculty of character-drawing, I have lost it, 
probably for want of use, as I am far from taking 
any delight in a minute criticism on character, to 
which, in my younger days, I was excessively ad 
dicted. Both our taste and talents change with the 
progress of years. The purport of these lines, how 
ever, is to request you to absolve me from my pro 
mise, in which light I shall interpret your silence ; 
holding myself ready, however, to comply with your 
injunctions. I am, my dear Sir, 

" Your affectionate Brother, 

" R. HALL." 

An outline of Mr. Sutcliff's character was sub 
sequently given in his funeral discourse, published 
by Mr. Fuller, and now inserted in this volume. 



IXXXH 



MEMOIRS OF Mil. FULLER. 



SECTION V. 1814, 1815. 

JOURNEYS INTO VARIOUS PARTS OF ENGLAND 

ORDINATION OF MR. YATES AT LEICESTER 

COMMENC EMENT OF LAST ILLNESS ATTEMPTED 

EXCURSION TO THE NORTH OF ENGLAND LAST 

VISIT TO LONDON PUBLICATION OF SERMONS 

PREPARATION OF MSS. ON THE REVELATION 

AND ON COMMUNION RETURN OF DISORDER 

ORDINATION OF MR. MACK AGGRAVATED SYMP 
TOMS OF DISEASE LAST SERMON, AND DIS 
TRIBUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER VISIT TO 

CHELTENHAM CONTEMPLATED AND RELIN 
QUISHED LAST LETTER TO DR. RYLAND 

DYING EXPRESSIONS CONCLUDING SCENE 

FUNERAL EXTRACT FROM MR. TOLLER'S SER 
MON TESTIMONIES. OP THE REV. R. HALL, 

DR. NEWMAN, AND BIBLE SOCIETY MARBLE 

TABLET LETTER OF MRS. FULLER TO DR. RY 
LAND APPENDIX, CONTAINING NOTICES OF 

HIS FAMILY, &C. 

UNDER the powerful impression of his favourite 
inspired maxim, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to 
do, do it with all thy might," Mr. Fuller continued 
his unwearied efforts on behalf of the mission. He 
thus writes to Dr. Ryland on the 26th May, 1814 : 
" Between now and the first week in August I 
have no rest. I give you my routes, that you may 
write no letters to me at Kettering while I am out, 
and may write, if occasion should require, to other 
places. June 6, I set off for Essex, where I shall 
collect between the 8th and the 20th ; thence I go 
to London, to the annual meeting, on the 22nd ; 
come down to Kettering on the 24th or 25th ; set 
off for the north of England on the 27th for five 
Lord's days. I expect to spend the first at Liver 
pool, the second at Manchester, the third at Leeds, 
the fourth at Newcastle, and the fifth at Hull." 

The termination of his labours was, however, 
rapidly approaching, an event of which he had re 
cently received repeated intimations, and to which 
he looked forward with feelings equally removed 
from ecstasy and dismay. In the summer of 1814 
he travelled through several of the midland counties, 
attended the annual meeting of the mission in Lon 
don, and, after paying the last tribute to the remains 
of his beloved friend at Olney, set off for Lancashire 
and the north of England. From Durham he ad 
dressed a request to the East India directors for the 
passage of Mr. Yates, a missionary to Serampore, 
when a contumacious opposition to the provisions of 
the new enactment compelled him, after repeated 
and respectful solicitations, to appeal to the Board 
of Control. For this purpose he again visited Lon 
don, where he obtained an interview with the Earl 
of Buckinghamshire. This matter being satis 
factorily adjusted, he returned home, and the fol 



lowing week attended the designation of Mr. Yates 
at Leicester. He preached with unusual solemnity 
and affection, but could not do as at other times. 
His debilitated frame sank under the fatigue of the 
engagements. 

During his stay at Leicester he appeared so ab 
sorbed in the concerns of the mission, that his friends 
enjoyed but little of his society. On parting with 
them he intimated that he was very ill, that he 
should probably see them no more, that his work 
was nearly done, but that he could not spare time 
to nurse himself, and must labour as long as he 
could. 

On Lord's day, Sept. 4, after preaching in the 
morning, he was taken seriously ill. On the 18th,. 
addressing his friend Ryland, he says, " For the 
last fortnight I have been laid by and nearly con 
fined to my bed. I know not when I have had so 
violent an attack of the bile. I had an inflammation 
about the liver, the effects of which are still upon 
me, so that I can scarcely walk. I hope to get out 
to meeting once to-day. I know not what to do 
with the missionary students, (from Olney,) being 
utterly unfit to entertain care of any kind. I thought 
it best to let them come to you. Here I must leave 
it. The writing of this letter has overcome me." 

Having partially recovered, he proceeded with 
two friends on another journey to the north of Eng 
land, to complete those engagements which had 
been abruptly broken off on his last excursion ; but 
on reaching Newark he was compelled to return, 
leaving them to prosecute the object. 

Writing to a friend soon after, he says, " I have 
preached only twice for the last five or six weeks, 
but am gradually though slowly recovering. Since 
I was laid by from preaching, I have written out 
my sermon, and drawn up a memoir for my dear 
brother Sutcliff. Your partiality for the memoir of 
dear Pearce will insure me one reader at least for 
that of Sutcliff. I hope the great and good Mr. 
Charles of Bala will find some one who will do jus 
tice to his memory. Mrs. Sutcliff died on the 3rd of 
September, less than eleven weeks after her husband. 
Death has swept away almost all my old friends, 
and I seem to stand expecting to be called for soon. 
It matters not when, so that we be found in Christ." 

In another letter he says, " Brother SutclifFs last 
end was enviable : may mine be like his ! Death 
has been making havoc of late among us. Yester 
day I preached a funeral sermon, if so it might be 
called, for three of the members of our church, lately 
deceased. I feel as one who has the sentence of 
death, and whose great concern it is whether my re 
ligion will bear the test ! Almost all my old friends 
are dead, or dying. Well, I have a hope that bears 



ORDINATION OF MR. MACK. 



Ixxxiii 



me up ; and it is through grace. In reviewing my 
life, I see much evil God be merciful to me a 
sinner ! " 

In December, having somewhat recruited his 
strength, he paid another visit to London, on which 
occasion he delivered a powerful and animated dis 
course on behalf of the British and Foreign School 
Society. Though this was one of his happiest ef 
forts, it was evident to his London friends that they 
could expect to see his face no more. He was 
strongly advised to try the air and waters of Chel 
tenham, but deferred it to a milder season, using 
the " salts " as a substitute in the interim. 

It was during the numerous engagements and af 
flictions of this year that he published his " Sermons 
on Various Subjects." This work consisted of six 
teen discourses, worthy of the talents and piety of the 
author, and will be found at p. 538 of these works. 

In the commencement of 1815 he prepared for 
the press his " Exposition of the Revelation " and 
"Letters on Communion." The latter treatise he 
consigned to the care of his esteemed friend Dr. 
Newman, with a request to publish it, in case an 
anticipated production from the pen of Mr. Hall on 
the other side should seem to render it necessary. 
This publication, though not without marks of that 
shrewd and penetrating judgment which distinguish 
ed his controversial writings, is not remarkable for 
the most conclusive reasoning ; and though it were 
too much to admit the justice of Mr. Hall's insinua 
tion, that his mind was not fully made up on the 
subject, there is perhaps reason to suppose that a 
more ample discussion would have effected a con 
siderable alteration in his views. The charge of 
bigotry, however, made against him, and others 
cherishing the same sentiments on this subject, says 
little for the understanding or charity of those who 
prefer it. True charity will never require the sur 
render of a man's principles as an evidence of his 
candour ; and happy they who have learned that an 
honest refusal to unite in the partial use of some 
minor tokens of affection may consist with the ex 
ercise of the tenderest feelings of Christian love. 
Mr. Fuller describes a conversation with a Psedo- 
baptist minister on this subject, which is highly cre 
ditable to both : " I never saw more godliness, 
candour, or humility in any one. He talked with 
me, among other things, about baptism and strict 
communion. ' I think,' said he, before a number 
of his friends, ' you have a catholic heart : I should 
like to know the grounds on which you act ; and I 
am almost sure they are not temper nor bigotry ! ' 
When I had stated them, he answered, ' Well ; I 
think I can see the conscientiousness of your con 
duct, and am therefore glad I asked you.' " 



In 1815, within three or four months of his de 
cease, while labouring under the most depn-ssed 
state of body and mind, occasioned by a disordered 
liver, he sat at his desk upwards of twelve hours a 
day. 

On Feb. 1, he wrote to his brother at Isleham as 
follows : "... Well ; * the Lord liveth, and blessed 
be my rock ! ' I am conscious of no wicked way in 
me ; but I feel myself to be an unprofitable servant. 
We shall soon finish our course : may it be with 
joy ! If I am able next summer, it is in my mind 
to take a tour eastward to Wisbeach, Lynn, Faken- 
ham, Norwich, Yarmouth, and some other places in 
Norfolk and Suffolk, and return by Isleham and 
Soham ; but perhaps I may prove like Samson, 
who went out to do as at other times, and wist not 
that his strength was departed from him." He was 
under the necessity of placing himself under medi 
cal direction, to enable him to fulfil an engagement 
at Clipstone, a few miles from home, where on the 
29th of March he attended the ordination of the 
Rev. J. Mack. He addressed the church in a 
most impressive manner, from 2 John 8. On re 
tiring from the pulpit, he said, in reply to the in 
quiries of his friends, " I am very ill a dying man." 
On taking his leave, he said, " All is over my 
work is nearly finished. I shall see you no more : 
the blessing of the Lord attend you farewell." 
There can be no doubt that this exercise contribut 
ed greatly to the aggravation of his disorder. The 
following sabbath, April 2, he delivered his last 
sermon, from Isa. Ixvi. 1,2," Thus saith the Lord, 
The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my foot 
stool," &c. His discourse on this occasion was 
marked by a peculiar earnestness, and his subse 
quent pathetic though short address at the Lord's 
table, interrupted by solemn pauses, conveyed to 
the minds of the communicants a powerful impres 
sion that they were receiving the memorials of a 
Saviour's love from his hands for the last time. He 
seemed absorbed in the contemplation of a crucified, 
risen, and exalted Redeemer, and quoted with pe 
culiar emphasis those lines : 

" Jesus is gone above the skies," &c. 
On the 9tb, after sitting up in his bed, and speak 
ing in affecting terms relative to some family affairs, 
he said, " I feel satisfaction in the thought that my 
times are in the Lord's hands. I have been impor 
tuning the Lord that whether I live it may be to 
him, or whether I die it may be to him. Flesh and 
heart fail ; but God is the strength of my heart, and 
my portion for ever." 

April the 1 1th, he said, " Into thy hands I com 
mit my spirit, my family, and my charge : I have 
done a little for God; but all that I have done 



Ixxxiv 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



needs forgiveness. I trust alone in sovereign grace 
and mercy. I could be glad to be favoured with 
some lively hopes before I depart hence. God, my 
supporter and my hope, I would say, ' Not my will, 
but thine be done ! ' 

' God is my soul's eternal rock, 
The strength of every saint.' 

I am a poor sinner ; but my hope is in the Sa 
viour of sinners." 

He now determined, by the advice of his physi 
cian, on going to Cheltenham ; and his beloved 
flock, anxious that every possible accommodation 
should be afforded him, contributed most liberally 
to the supply of his wants. Writing to a friend in 
the town, who was prevented by illness from visiting 
him, he says " April 19, I am ordered to go next 
Monday for Cheltenham. I should be happy to 
come and see you before I go ; but whether the 
weather and my afflictions will permit I know not. 
When I shall return is uncertain. The Lord's 
supper must be suspended ; my times are in the 
Lord's hand ; but to me all is uncertain." On the 
following sabbath his disorder assumed a new and 
alarming appearance, and the journey was relin 
quished as impracticable. 

" On the 28th of April, he dictated the following 
letter to Dr. Ryland, and subscribed it with his 
own hand : 

" MY DEAREST FRIEND, 

" We have enjoyed much together, which I hope 
will prove an earnest of greater enjoyment in another 
world. We have also wrought together in the 
Lord's vineyard, and he has given us to reap toge 
ther in his vintage. I expect this is nearly over ; 
but I trust we shall meet, and part no more. I 
have very little hope of recovery ; but I am satisfied 
to drink of the cup which my heavenly Father 
giveth me to drink. Without experience, no one 
can conceive of the depression of my spirits ; yet I 
have no despondency. ' I know whom I have be 
lieved, and that he is able to keep that which I 
have committed to him against that day.' I am a 
poor guilty creature ; but Christ is an almighty 
Saviour. I have preached and written much against 
the abuse of the doctrine of grace ; but that doc 
trine is all my salvation and all my desire. I have 
no other hope than from salvation by mere sove 
reign, efficacious grace, through the atonement of 
my Lord and Saviour. With this hope, I can go 
into eternity with composure. Come, Lord Jesus ! 
Come when thou wilt ! Here I am ; let him do 
with me as seemeth him good ! 

" We have some who have been giving out, of 
late, that ' If Sutcliff and some others had preach 



ed more of Christ, and less of Jonathan Edwards, 
they would have been more useful.' If those who 
talked thus preached Christ half as much as Jona 
than Edwards did, and were half as useful as he 
was, their usefulness would be double what it is. 
It is very singular that the mission to the East 
should have originated with men of these principles ; 
and, without pretending to be a prophet, I may say, 
If ever it falls into the hands of men who talk in 
this strain, it will soon come to nothing. 

"If I should never see your face in the flesh, I 
could wish one last testimony of brotherly love, and 
of the truth of the gospel, to be expressed by your 
coming over and preaching my funeral sermon, if it 
can be, from Rom. viii. 10. I can dictate no more, 
but am 

" Ever yours, 

"A. F." 

On the same day one of his deacons, to whom he 
expressed himself as in great depression of body, 
replied, " I do not know any person, sir, who is in 
a more enviable situation than yourself a good 
man on the verge of a blessed immortality." He 
modestly assented, and lifting up his hands ex 
claimed, " If I am saved, it will be by great and so 
vereign grace BY GREAT AND SOVEREIGN GRACE ! 
On attempting to raise himself in bed, he said, 
" All my feelings are sinking, dying feelings." 
Seeing his wife in tears, he said, " We shall meet 
again ! It will be well." While in a bath, he ob 
served to his medical attendant, " I never before 
recollect to have had such depression of animal 
spirits, accompanied with such calmness of mind." 
Though the disorder with which he was afflicted 
was such that many of the best regulated minds 
had been reduced almost to despair under its in 
fluence, he was frequently heard to say, " My mind 
is calm no raptures, no despondency." And on 
one occasion he used the following emphatic ex 
pression, " My hope is such that I am not afraid 
to plunge into eternity ! " 

Addressing himself to one of his sons, he ex 
claimed, " All misery is concentrated in me ! " 
" Bodily misery only, father ? " " Yes, I can think 
of nothing else." More than once he said, " My 
breath is corrupt, my days are extinct." 

On Lord's day, May the 7th, within an hour of 
his departure, overhearing the congregation singing 
in the chapel, which adjoined his house, he said to 
his daughter Sarah, " I wish I had strength enough." 
" To do what, father ? " He replied, " To wor 
ship, child ; " and added, " my eyes are dim." On 
his daughter Mary entering the room, (the rest of 
the family surrounding the bed of their dying parent,) 



HIS DEATH AND FUNERAL. 



l\\\v 



he said, " Come, Mary, come and help me." He 
was raised up in bed, and in that attitude continued 
for nearly half an hour, apparently joining in the 
devotions of his flock. The only words that could 
be distinctly heard were " help me," when, with 
his hands clasped and his eyes fixed upwards, he 
fell back, uttered two or three sighs, and expired. 
Thus died this devoted servant of Christ, May 7, 
1815, in the sixty-second year of his age. 

A letter from his colleague, the Rev. J. K. Hall, 
gives a further detail of the circumstances attendant 
on his death and funeral, of which the following are 
extracts : 

" I intend to fill this letter with news ; though, 
as it will chiefly relate to Mr. Fuller's death, it will 
be news of a doleful kind. You have heard, I 
suppose, that this great and good man departed 
this life about half-past eleven, last Lord's-day 
morning. I was, at the time, preaching from Psal. 
xxiii. 4 ' Yea, though I walk through the valley 
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,' &c. 
He experienced what, at that moment, I was at 
tempting to describe. Mr. Toller, the Independent 
minister, was, at the same time, preaching from 
Psal. Ixxiii. 26 ' My flesh and my heart faileth ; 
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion 
for ever.' As soon as we left our places of worship, 
every individual in the town probably heard the 
afflictive words, ' He is gone ! He is gone ! ' and the 
melancholy news was soon despatched to different 
parts of the kingdom. As I had to preach in the 
afternoon, you may easily suppose that this circum 
stance would increase those feelings which I could 
not prevent on so solemn an occasion : I preached 
from Isa. ix. 6 ' And the government shall be upon 
his shoulder.' This was the text from which Mr. 
Fuller preached, when he returned from my grand 
father's funeral." 

After describing the particulars of his illness 
and death, he adds, " The funeral is to be next 
Monday. I shall not send this off till it is over. 
You know that Dr. Ryland, by Mr. Fuller's request, 
is to preach ; and my uncle is to deliver the funeral 
oration." 

"Tuesday Afternoon [May 16]. 

" Mr. Hall has resigned to me (says Mrs. Hall) 
the task of finishing this letter; but as the mail 
will leave Kettering very soon, I can do little more 
than just mention that the last sad tribute of respect 
\\.i- yesterday evening paid to the remains of the 
great and good Mr. Fuller. The crowd which at 
tended was immense. All the ministers in the 
town were invited, both Churchmen and Dissenters 
Mr. Toller, Mr. Hogg, Mr. Bugg, with Mr. 
Brown and Mr. Towers, the Methodist preachers. 



No formal invitation was sent to any minister in the 
country, it being difficult to know where to draw 
the line ; but numbers were attracted to the spot 
by motives of respect and affection. Mr. Grimshaw, 
a clergyman of the Establishment, came on puqiose 
from Bedford. Mr. Hinton, of Oxford, and many 
others, with whom I was not acquainted, were there. 
I went to the meeting through Mr. Fuller's house 
(the doors not being open quite so soon) at three 
o'clock in the afternoon. About a quarter of an 
hour afterwards, the crowds assembled at the doors 
were admitted ; the rush of people was astonishing ; 
but no one, that I have heard of, received any injury. 
It was supposed there might be 2000 persons. The 
galleries were propped in several places, to prevent 
any accident ; and, I am happy to say, there was 
not the slightest alarm. A quarter before five the 
funeral procession entered. The coffin was placed 
in the table-pew ; the mourners in the seats on the 
right hand of the pulpit. Mr. J. H. first gave out 
a hymn. Mr. Toller then engaged in prayer, with 
great fervour and devotion: another hymn was 
sung. Dr. R. preached from Rom. viii. 10, and 
Mr. Robert Hall, preceded by another hymn, de 
livered the funeral oration. The corpse was then 
carried out and interred. A few words only were 
spoken, by Dr. Ryland, after the body was put into 
the grave." 

The following is an extract from a discourse de 
livered by Mr. Toller, the Independent minister, on 
the sabbath following the death of his friend, and 
subsequently to Mr. Fuller's congregation at their 
request. The text was chosen from 1 Kings xiii. 
30, " Alas, my brother ! " 

" With regard to the much-respected friend and 
Christian minister lately removed, it might appear 
unbecoming and indelicate in me to enter far into 
his character and case ; particularly as this will be 
done to so much greater advantage on the approach 
ing day ; but thus much I could hardly satisfy my 
self without advancing on this occasion. 

"I trust I am sincerely disposed to join in the gene 
ral and just tribute which his friends and the public 
are disposed to pay to his abilities, his sound sense, 
and solid understanding, and to his unwearied dili 
gence and unconquerable ardour in supporting and 
pursuing the interests of the best of causes ; and that 
not only in the common duties of his profession, but 
more particularly in the propagation of Christianity 
in the foreign climes of India. Perhaps no 
individual, next to the unequalled Carey, no in 
dividual, at least at home, has done so much to 
promote that cause ; and, considering the few ad 
vantages of early education which he enjoyed, the 



Ixxxvi 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



eminence to which he has risen, the influence he 
acquired, and the means of usefulness which he has 
collected and secured, are so much the more ex 
traordinary, and reflect the greater credit on his 
memory. The variety and compass of his writings, 
though all bearing on one grand point, yet serve to 
show what sheer abilities, sound principle, ardent 
zeal, and persevering application can do. I have 
read his works (some of them more than once) with 
much satisfaction, and, I trust, some improvement: 
that that improvement has not amounted to more, 
ought to be attributed to myself. I have not a doubt 
but that they have been of real and extensive use 
in the Christian church, in support of the radical 
principles of evangelical religion, and will continue 
to be so after his dust shall mingle with the ' clods 
of the valley.' It is a satisfaction to me to reflect 
that, in the great leading views of vital Christianity, 
he expresses very nearly my own sentiments ; though 
it is not to be expected that persons who think for 
themselves on sacred subjects should, in every point, 
' see eye to eye.' You will not, therefore, expect 
that I should profess myself able to subscribe to 
every article in his theological creed : still, how 
ever, it is a pleasure to me to reflect now, that, dif 
fering only on points of subordinate importance, 
wherever that was the case we always agreed to 
differ. 

" Though living in the same town, engaged in 
the same profession, and that under the banners of 
different denominations, for about thirty years, I do 
not recollect that ever an angry word passed be 
tween us, or a single jar occurred, by our means, 
among our respective connexions. At the same 
time, I would not mention this in the spirit of a 
vain compliment, either to him or to myself; but 
desire to be deeply sensible of a thousand deficiencies 
and errors in other respects ; nor would I be under 
stood, in a servile spirit of fulsome flattery, as re 
presenting him as a faultless character, or holding 
him up, in all respects, as a model of the Christian 
temper and disposition ; for, alas ! of whom can 
you say, ' Be ye followers of him,' unless you in 
sert the restrictive clause so far as he was ' a fol 
lower of Christ?' 

" While, then, I think him an eminent loss to his 
family, a general loss to society and the church of 
Christ, and perhaps an irreparable loss to his own 
denomination, I trust I can, with truly Christian 
cordiality, follow him up to the footstool of his 
Master's throne, and congratulate him on that 
' Well done, good and faithful servant,' which, I 
have no doubt, he has received. 

" I conclude with remarking that, in no one point, 
either from his writings, which I have read, or the 



sermons I have heard from him, or the interviews and 
conversations I have had with him, in nothing can 
I so fully join issue with him as in the manner of 
his dying. Had he gone off full of rapture and 
transport, I might have said, ' O let me die the 
triumphant death of the righteous ! ' but it would 
have been far more than I could have realized or 
expected in my own case : but the state of his mind 
towards the last appears to have been, if I may so 
express it, ' after my own heart.' He died as a 
penitent sinner at the foot of the cross. At my 
last parting with him I shook hands with him twice, 
and observed, with some emotion, not expecting to 
see him more, ' We have lived harmoniously, many 
years, in the same place : I trust we shall, one day, 
meet above.' I think the last religious sentence 
he dropped to me was, ' Looking for the mercy of 
our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.' He said 
to a young minister, ' I have no religious joys ; but 
I have a hope, in the strength of which I think I 
could plunge into eternity.' 

" Being reminded of his missionary labours, he 
replied, ' Ah ! the object was unquestionably good ;' 
but adverted to the mixture of motives to the in 
fluence of which we are liable in supporting the 
best of causes. To another friend, who was con 
gratulating him in a similar style, he replied, ' I 
have been a great sinner ; and, if I am saved at all, 
it must be by great and sovereign grace.' Here the 
dying minister the dying friend, speaks all my 
heart ; here, I come nearer to him at his death than 
I have ever done through the whole course of his 
life. The testimony of a Christian conscience is, 
at all times, invaluable ; but, in the dying moments 
of a fallen creature, it can afford no more than 
auxiliary support ; the grand prominent hold of the 
trembling soul must be ' the golden chain that comes 
down from heaven.' It is the immediate, personal, 
realizing application ; it is the broad palpable hope 
of salvation for penitent sinners, through the riches 
of Divine grace in Christ Jesus our Lord, that 
throws every thing else into shades. It is not the 
voice of congratulation on the best-spent life, how 
ever just, that is most acceptable, in those awful 
moments, to pious minds : that is often heard with 
trembling diffidence and conscious apprehension of 
contaminating motives and counteracting defects. 
The sweetest music, in the ears of expiring piety, 
must be struck from another string : ' This is the 
record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this 
life is in his Son The wages of sin is death ; but 
the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord.' 

" In all probability, my bones will be deposited 
not far from his ; God grant that I may die in the 



TESTIMONY OF MR. HALL. 



Ixxxvii 



same temper and the same hope ; and that our spirits 
may be united in the day of the Lord ! Amen." 

A tomb was erected over the remains of Mr. 
Fuller, in the burial-ground adjoining his place of 
worship, and a tablet to his memory is placed by 
the side of the pulpit, with this inscription : 

IN MEMORY OF THEIR REVERED AND BELOVED PASTOR, 

THE REVEREND ANDREW FULLER, 
THE CHURCH AND CONGREGATION HATE ERECTED THIS TABLET. 

HIS ARDENT PIETY, 

THE STRENGTH AND SOUNDNESS OF HIS JUDGMENT, 

HIS INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE HUMAN HEART, 

AND HIS PROFOUND ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, 

EMINENTLY QUALIFIED HIM FOR THE MINISTERIAL OFFICE, 

WHICH HE SUSTAINED AMONGST THEM THIRTY-TWO YEARS. 

THE FORCE AND ORIGINALITY OF HIS GENIUS, 

AIDED BY UNDAUNTED FIRMNESS, 

RAISED HIM FROM OBSCURITY 
TO HIGH DISTINCTION IN THE RELIGIOUS WORLD. 

BY THE WISDOM OF HIS PLANS, 

AND DY HIS UNWEARIED DILIGENCE IN EXECUTING THEM, 
HE RENDERED THE MOST IMPORTANT SERVICES 

TO THE BAPTIST MISSIONARY SOCIETY; 

OF WHICH HE WAS THE SECRETARY FROM ITS COMMENCEMENT, 
AND TO THE PROSPERITY OF WHICH HE DEVOTED HIS LIFE. 

IN ADDITION TO HIS OTHER LABOURS, 

HIS WRITINGS ARE NUMEROUS AND CELEBRATED. 

HE DIED MAY "Til, 1815, AGED 61. 

The following testimonies will show the general 
estimation in which the character of the deceased 
was held. The first is from the pen of the late 
Rev. Robert Hall, A. M. 

" I cannot refrain from expressing, in a few words, 
the sentiments of affectionate veneration with which 
I always regarded that excellent person while living, 
and cherish his memory now that he is no more ; a 
man whose sagacity enabled him to penetrate to the 
depths of every subject he explored, whose concep 
tions were so powerful and luminous, that what was 
recondite and original appeared familiar ; what was 
intricate, easy and perspicuous in his hands; equally 
successful in enforcing the practical, in stating the 
theoretical, and discussing the polemical branches 
of theology : without the advantages of early edu 
cation, he rose to high distinction among the re 
ligious writers of his day, and, in the midst of a 
most active and laborious life, left monuments of 
his piety and genius which will survive to distant 
posterity. Were I making his eulogium, I should 
necessarily dwell on the spotless integrity of his 
private life, his fidelity in friendship, his neglect of 
self-interest, his ardent attachment to truth, and 
especially the series of unceasing labours and exer 
tions, in superintending the mission to India, to 
which he most probably fell a victim. He had 
nothing feeble or undecisive in his character ; but, 



to every undertaking in which he engaged, he 
brought all the powers of his understanding, all the 
energies of his heart ; and if he were less distin 
guished by the comprehension than the acumen and 
solidity of his thoughts less eminent for the gentler 
graces than for stern integrity and native grandeur 
of mind, we have only to remember the necessary 
limitation of human excellence. While he endeared 
himself to his denomination by a long course of 
most useful labour, by his excellent works on the 
Socinian and deistical controversies, as well as his 
devotion to the cause of missions, he laid the world 
under lasting obligations." 

The same eloquent writer, in his brief memoir 
of Mr. Toller, has sketched, with a masterly hand, 
a comparative delineation of the peculiar excellences 
of both his friends. 

" It has rarely been the privilege of one town, 
and that not of considerable extent, to possess at 
the same time, and for so long a period, two such 
eminent men as Mr. Toller and Mr. Fuller. Their 
merits as Christian ministers were so equal, and yet 
so different, that the exercise of their religious 
functions in the same place was as little adapted to 
produce jealousy as if they had moved in distant 
spheres. The predominant feature in the intellectual 
character of Mr. Fuller was the power of discrimi 
nation, by which he detected the minutest shades of 
difference among objects which most minds would 
confound. Mr. Toller excelled in exhibiting the 
common sense of mankind in a new and impressive 
form. Mr. Fuller never appeared to so much ad 
vantage as when occupied in detecting sophistry, 
repelling objections, and ascertaining, with a mi 
croscopic accuracy, the exact boundaries of truth 
and error : Mr. Toller attached his attention chiefly 
to those parts of Christianity which come most into 
contact with the imagination and the feelings, over 
which he exerted a sovereign ascendency. Mr. 
Fuller convinced by his arguments, Mr. Toller sub 
dued by his pathos ; the former made his hearers 
feel the grasp of his intellect, the latter the contagion 
of his sensibility. Mr. Fuller's discourses identified 
themselves after they were heard with trains of 
thought ; Mr. Toller's with trains of emotion. The 
illustrations employed by Mr. Fuller (for he also 
excelled in illustration) were generally made to sub 
serve the clearer comprehension of his subject ; 
those of Mr. Toller consisted chiefly of appeals to 
the imagination and the heart. Mr. Fuller's mi 
nistry was peculiarly adapted to detect hypocrites, 
to expose fallacious pretensions to religion, and to 
separate the precious from the vile ; he sat as ' the 
refiner's fire, and the fuller's soap.' Mr. Toller 
was most in his element when exhibiting the con- 



Ixxxviii 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



solations of Christ, dispelling the fears of death, and 
painting the prospects of eternity. Both were 
original ; but the originality of Mr. Fuller appeared 
chiefly in his doctrinal statements, that of Mr. Toller 
in his practical remarks. The former was unques 
tionably most conversant with speculative truth, the 
latter possessed, perhaps, the deeper insight into 
the human heart. 

" Nor were the characters of these eminent men, 
within the limits of that moral excellence which was 
the attribute of both, less diversified than their 
mental endowments. Mr. Fuller was chiefly dis 
tinguished by the qualities that command veneration ; 
Mr. Toller by those which excite love. Laborious, 
zealous, intrepid, Mr. Fuller passed through a thou 
sand obstacles in the pursuit of objects of public 
interest and utility : Mr. Toller loved to repose, de 
lighting and delighted, in the shade of domestic 
privacy. The one lived for the world ; the other 
for the promotion of the good of his congregation, 
his family, and friends. An intense zeal for the 
advancement of the kingdom of Christ, sustained 
by industry that never tired, a resolution not to be 
shaken, and integrity incapable of being warped, 
conjoined to a certain austerity of manner, were the 
leading characteristics of Mr. Fuller ; gentleness, 
humility, and modesty those of Mr. Toller. The 
secretary of the Baptist Mission attached, in my 
opinion, too much importance to a speculative ac 
curacy of sentiment ; while the subject of this me 
moir leaned to the contrary extreme. Mr. Fuller 
was too prone to infer the character of men from 
their creed ; Mr. Toller to lose sight of their creed 
in their character. 

" Between persons so dissimilar, it was next to 
impossible a very close and confidential intimacy 
should subsist : a sincere admiration of each other's 
talents, and esteem for the virtues which equally 
adorned them both, secured, without interruption, 
for more than thirty years, those habits of kind and 
respectful intercourse which had the happiest effect 
in promoting the harmony of their connexions, and 
the credit of religion. 

" Much as Mr. Fuller was lamented by the re 
ligious public in general, and especially in his own 
denomination, I have reason to believe there was not 
a single individual, out of the circle of his immediate 
relatives, who was more deeply affected by his death 
than Mr. Toller. From that moment he felt him 
self nearer to eternity ; he accepted the event as a 
most impressive warning of his own dissolution ; 
and, while a thousand solemn and affecting recol 
lections accompanied the retrospect of a connexion 
which had so long and so happily subsisted, one of 
his favourite occunations was to rpvve a mental in 



tercourse, by the frequent perusal of the sermons of 
his deceased friend. It is thus that the friendship 
of high and sanctified spirits loses nothing by death 
but its alloy; failings disappear, and the virtues of 
those whose ' faces we shall behold no more ' ap 
pear greater and more sacred when beheld through 
the shades of the sepulchre." 

" It is pleasing to reflect," observes Dr. Newman, 
" that a spontaneous homage was paid to him by 
persons of all ranks and degrees. Men of education 
and learning, men of distinction in wealth and office, 
the poor and illiterate, Christians in the Estab 
lishment and out of it, of all denominations, hung 
delighted on his lips." 

The Committee of the British and Foreign Bible 
Society, in a minute dated May 22, 1815, testify 
their estimate of his worth in the following terms : 
" This Committee learn, with deep regret, the de 
cease of the late Rev. Andrew Fuller, secretary to 
the Baptist Missionary Society ; and, impressed 
with a sense of the valuable services rendered by 
that excellent individual, in promoting the trans 
lation and publication of the sacred Scriptures in 
the East, desire to unite their condolence on this 
afflictive event with that of their Baptist brethren, 
to whom he was more particularly allied, and of 
the Christian world, by whom his memory will 
deserve to be held in affectionate and grateful 
veneration." 

To these public testimonies may be added one 
relative to his domestic virtues, from his bereaved 
widow, who thus writes to Dr. Ryland : 

" I think, dear sir, there was no one better ac 
quainted with the dear deceased, in his public cha 
racter, than yourself: we can, therefore, give you no 
information on that head ; but far be it from me to 
wish it to be held up in the style of panegyric. I 
am certain that would have ill accorded with his 
sentiments and feelings ; and I know that this may 
be safely left to your discretion. But I cannot for 
bear adding my testimony to my late dear husband's 
conduct in his domestic character ; which, so far as 
his mind was at liberty to indulge in such enjoy 
ments, I must testify to have been, ever since I had 
the happiness of being united to him, of the most 
amiable and endearing kind. But to so great a de 
gree was he absorbed in his work as scarcely to 
allow himself any leisure or relaxation from the se 
verest application ; especially since, of late years, 
his work so accumulated on his hands. I was 
sometimes used to remark, how much we were oc 
cupied ; (for, indeed, I had no small share of care 
devolved upon me in consequence ; ) his reply usu 
ally was, ' Ah, my dear, the way for us to have any 
joy is to rejoice in all our labour, and then we shall 



ANECDOTES. 



Ixxxix 



have plenty of joy.' If I complained that he allow 
ed himself no time for recreation, he would answer, 
' Oh no : all my recreation is a change of work.' If 
I expressed an apprehension that he would soon 
wear himself out, he would reply, ' I cannot be worn 
out in a better cause. We must work while it is 
day ; ' or, ' Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it 
with all thy might.' 

" There was a degree of bluntness in his manner ; 
which yet did not arise from an unsociable or churl 
ish disposition, but from an impatience of interrup 
tion in the grand object of his pursuit. In this 
sense, he seemed not to know his relations or friends. 
Often, when a friend or an acquaintance on a jour 
ney has called, when they had exchanged a few 
words, he would ask, ' Have you any thing more to 
say ? ' or something to that effect ' if not, I must 
beg to be excused ; ' at the same time, asking them 
to stay and take some refreshment, if they chose. 
Yet, you know, dear sir, he had a heart formed for 
the warmest and sincerest friendship with those 
whose minds were congenial with bis own, and who 
were engaged in similar pursuits ; and I never 
knew him to be weary of their company. I am fully 
persuaded that my dear husband fell a sacrifice to 
his unremitting application to the concerns of the 
mission ; but I dare not murmur. The Lord has 
done as it pleased him ; and I know that whatever 
he does is right." 

The following anecdotes will illustrate some of 
the most distinguishing features of Mr. Fuller's 
character. Among these none was more conspicu 
ous than his originality, which is thus referred to by 
himself, in a conversation with a friend on the philo 
sophical character of Dr. Franklin : " Well, said 
Mr. Fuller, what do you call a philosopher, or in 
what respect was he one ? " " Oh ! he seems to have 
made rules for himself in childhood, which regulated 
him even in old age." Mr. Fuller replied, " If this 
bo any mark of a philosopher, you will make me 
one. My father was a farmer, and in my younger 
da\ * it was one great boast among the ploughmen 
that they could plough a straight line across the 
furrows or ridges of a field. I thought I could do 
this as well as any of them. One day, I saw such 
a line, which had just been drawn, and I thought, 
* Now I have it.' Accordingly, I laid hold of the 
plough, and, putting one of the horses into the fur 
row which had been made, 1 resolved to keep him 
walking in it, and thus secure a parallel line. By 
and by, however, I observed that there were what 
might be called wriggles in this furrow ; and, when 
I came to them, they turned out to be larger in 
mine than in the original. On perceiving this, I 



threw the plough aside, and determined never to 
be an imitator." 

There were times when he could appreciate and 
enjoy the works of art, but these were evidently 
made to yield to matters of higher moment ; and 
what was observed of John Howard, by an eloquent 
living writer, was equally true of Mr. Fuller, that 
" as invisible spirits, who fulfil their commission of 
philanthropy among mortals, do not care about pic 
tures, statues, and sumptuous buildings ; no more 
did he, when the time in which he must have in 
spected and admired them would have been taken 
from the work to which he had consecrated his life." 
A friend, conducting Mr. F. through the University 
of Oxford, pointed out an object of peculiar interest 
among the splendid edifices that surrounded them : 
" Brother, replied he, I think there is one question 
which, after all that has been written on it, has not 
been yet answered : What is justification ? " His 
friend proposed to return home and discuss the sub 
ject; to which Mr. F. readily agreed, adding, 
" that inquiry is far more to me than all these fine 
buildings." 

Though rarely accustomed to obtrude himself on 
the attention of strangers, no man could more ad 
mirably preserve the consistency of his character in 
all companies. On one occasion, travelling in the 
Portsmouth mail, he was much annoyed by the 
profane conversation of two young men who sat op 
posite. After a time, one of them, observing his gra 
vity, accosted him with an air of impertinence, in 
quiring, in rude and indelicate language, whether 
on his arrival at Portsmouth he should not indulge 
himself in a manner evidently corresponding with 
their own intentions : Mr. Fuller, lowering his 
ample brows, and looking the inquirer full in the 
face, replied in measured tones, " Sir, I am a man 
that fears God." Scarcely a word was uttered 
during the remainder of the journey. 

" His aversion to display, and especially of at 
tainments to which he could lay but a moderate 
claim, is remarkable in his disclaimer of any thing ap 
proaching to erudition ; and though his remarks on 
the English Translation of the Scriptures evince a 
shrewd perception of its merits, and those on the 
proper and improper use of terms discover an equal 
acquaintance with the general principles of language, 
it is observable that he more freely availed himself 
of the use of critical comment in one page of his 
" Letters of Agnostos," where he was concealed 
from public view, than in all the rest of his works 
united. 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



Under the influence of those pensive feelings to 
which he was subject, especially in later life, he 
would often sing, to a tune remarkable for its plain 
tive simplicity, a hymn commencing with the fol 
lowing stanzas : 

" I sojourn in a vale of tears, 

Alas, how can I sing ? 
My harp doth on the willows hang, 

Distuned in every string : 
My music is a captive's chain ; 

Harsh sounds my ears do fill : 
How can I sing sweet Zion's song 

On this side Zion's hill ? " 

One evening, having composed a tune, not re 
markable for its scientific structure, he carried it 
for the inspection of a musical friend. " It's in a 
flat key, sir," observed his friend. " Very likely," 
replied Mr. F. in a plaintive tone, " very likely ; 
I was born in a flat key." His ideas of psalmody, 
which will be found among his miscellaneous pieces, 
are singular and not unworthy of attention. 

His mode of living was characterized by simpli 
city, and he would frequently remark that the great 
difference between the comfort of one man and 
another often depended on the fact, that the one 
simplified his wants the other multiplied them. 
Though his manners were occasionally harsh, and 
there were times in which he might be betrayed 
into needless severity, it was less attributable to a 
morose disposition than to an unpolished manner, of 
which his intercourse with society never entirely 
divested him. No man more sincerely estimated 
the importance of what he emphatically termed 
" Christian politeness," which he esteemed as 
equally removed from the heartless complaisance of 
a Chesterfield and the affected moroseness of a 
Johnson. 

Mr. Fuller excelled principally as a writer, yet 
his preaching was exceedingly interesting and in 
structive. His phraseology, though occasionally 
quaint, was, for the most part, clear, dignified, and 
emphatic. His arrangement was comprehensive, 
and he was remarkable for a felicitous discovery 
and a happy application of all the attributes of his 
subject and the terms of his text. Exposition was 
a favourite exercise ; and he was accustomed to re 
gard a ministry in which this occupied a subordinate 
place as equally wanting in Scriptural authority and 
practical advantage. He expounded a large por 
tion of the books of the Old and New Testament. 
Such of these as are not published were left in 
short-hand, in an unfinished state, and part of them 
perished bv fire. 



Mr. Fuller was succeeded by his colleague, the 
Rev. John Keen Hall, M. A., who, after sustaining 
the pastoral office fourteen years, during which he 
was greatly endeared to his people, was suddenly 
called to his reward, in the prime of life, a few 
weeks after his second marriage ; and was succeeded 
by the Rev. J. Robinson, the present pastor. 



APPENDIX. 

MR. FULLER left an aged mother, a widow, three 
sons, and two daughters, to mourn his loss. His 
mother, who had been for several years confined to 
her bed by infirmity, died in the faith of the gospel, 
in May, 1816, her age being upwards of ninety. 
His daughter Sarah, who was in a debilitated state 
of health at the time of his death, regarded that 
event as conveying a peculiarly solemn lesson to 
herself. Viewing with complacency his pallid 
corpse, she observed, " I shall lie there very soon," 
a presentiment which, alas, was realized. Her 
bereaved and disconsolate mother witnessed the 
only remaining companion of her widowhood falling 
under premature decay. Some of the distinguish 
ing characteristics of this amiable and interesting 
young female were exhibited in a narrative com 
posed by her mother, and inserted in the second 
edition of Dr. Ryland's Memoir of Mr. Fuller. A 
few extracts from this may not be unacceptable : 
" Her disposition, from a child, was amiable. 
Integrity was a prominent feature in her character. 
She appeared to possess an habitual tenderness of 
conscience, and was the subject of early convictions 
of sin, which, though transient in childhood, were 
more permanent as she advanced in years ; but, 
owing to a natural reservedness, accompanied by a 
fear of deceiving herself and others, it was very dif 
ficult to ascertain the real state of her mind and 
feelings; and, when she had unbosomed herself, 
she seemed to repent, as though she had said some 
thing which, after all, might not be true : and this 
suspicion of herself continued almost to the last. 
About the beginning of her last illness, in reply to 
the affectionate inquiries of her sister, she said, ' I 
feel a great deal ; but am afraid to speak it, lest I 
should deceive myself and others. Having had a re 
ligious education, it is easy to talk about religion ; and 
I am afraid lest what I have felt should be merely \ 
the effect of having enjoyed such a privilege, and so 
entirely wear off*. I know religion in theory ; but] 
am fearful lest it should be in theory only.' She' 
wept much, and promised to communicate as much 



APPENDIX. 



Kd 



of her mind as she could ; begging, however, that 
her sister would not mention it to any one ; ' for,' 
said she, ' possibly, what I now feel may be only on 
account of my affliction ; and then, if I recover, it 
may all wear off, and 1 may brinir a disgrace upon 
religion.' 

" On being told of a young person who wished 
that, whenever she died, it might be of a consump 
tion, that time might be afforded her to repent, she 
said, it was ' so unreasonable to expect mercy, after 
having lived in sin as long as she could! 1 

" In public worship she was a very attentive 
hearer, and clearly understood and approved the 
doctrines of the gospel. Prayer-meetings were her 
peculiar delight ; and her punctuality in attending 
them was truly exemplary : if any of her friends 
seemed indifferent to them, observing, ' It is only 
a prayer-meeting,' she would -express great disap 
probation. 

"It was pleasing to observe the earnest desire 
she manifested for the spiritual welfare of others, 
especially of the young. Her diligence as a teacher 
in the Sunday school was worthy of observation ; 
and she was extremely anxious for the adoption of 
a plan which had been proposed for the private re 
ligious instruction of some of the elder children of 
the school, nor would she rest till she saw it accom 
plished, though her diffidence would not allow her 
to take any active part in it. She once said to her 
mother in reference to this subject ' Mother, when 
will you speak about it ? I feel as if we were doing 
no good ; and it is so nicked to live here only to 
eat and drink, and sleep ! ' 

" During her illness, she spent most of her time, 
when able, in reading the Psalms and the New 
Testament; and when too weary herself to read, 
she would hear the Bible read with great pleasure. 

" Though, doubtless, she felt the natural love of 
life, yet she was never heard to express the smallest 
decree of impatience under her long and trying af 
fliction ; and her mind became more calm and com 
posed, as her prospects of being restored to her 
friends declined. The only concern she manifest 
ed in this particular was in the idea of leaving her 
mother, to whom, after her father's death, she was 
especially endeared by her tender and dutiful atten 
tions, and who she knew would deeply feel the loss 
of her society. She one time said to her ' I am 
quite happy, and have little wish to live but on your 
account.' * Seeing her mother greatly distressed, 

* She was peculiarly distressed at the thought of leaving her 
mother, confined by the charge of an aged and infirm parent 
to a house already the scene of melancholy recollections, which 
must be much increased by her own departure, and prayed 
earnestly and continually that God wol<J spare her life beyond 



she in the tenderest manner endeavoured to recon 
cile her to the loss of her by saying, ' Dear mother, 
do not lay your account with pining after me when 
I am gone ; you have other children who will need 
your care, and you don't know what trouble you 
might have on my account if I were to live.' Being 
asked if she did not feel happy in the thought 
of meeting her dear departed friends in glory, she 
replied ' I do not think of that, so much as of 
seeing God and praising him.' A few days before 
she died, she requested her sister to pray for her 
speedy release. The next day she said to her 
mother ' I think I am going .... I feel so calm 
and comfortable.' A short time before, she said 
she had no desire to live longer, unless it might be 
for the glory of God, and that she might serve him. 
To a friend who was speaking of his trials being so 
great, that, were it not for his family, he could be 
glad to leave the world, she said ' Take care of 
your motives, whether they are to glorify God, or 
merely to get rid of trouble.' In short, the thoughts 
of serving and glorifying God, whether in this world 
or another, seemed to take place of all other consider 
ations. She did not, however, attach any merit to 
the best of services ; and her reliance for salvation 
was solely on the atonement of the Redeemer. She 
said he was all her hope, and all her desire. 

" When her younger brothers visited her a few 
weeks previous to her death, her earnestness with 
them was very affecting. On the morning of the 
day on which she died, she expressed an anxious 
desire of speaking to all the young people of her 
acquaintance, (mentioning several by name,) in 
order, if possible, to convey to them the strong im 
pression of the weight of eternal things which filled 
her own mind, in the near prospect of eternity ; and 
said, if she had a wish to live, it was that she might 
see them come forward, and declare themselves on 
the side of Christ. Being asked if she was happy, 
she replied, ' Quite so ; but I feel no raptures : and, 
if my dear father did not, how can / expect it?' 

" At her request, Mr. Hall was sent for, to whom 
she spoke with much earnestness, lamenting to how 
little purpose she had lived, and desiring him, if 
he thought proper, to improve her death in a sermon 
to young people ; entreating him to be very par 
ticular in warning them not to put off the concerns 
of religion : and especially the children of the sab 
bath school ; expressing her regret that she had so 
much neglected speaking to them on that important 

that of her grandmother, a request which was remarkably an 
swered, her grandmother, who had enjoyed a scries of uninter 
rupted internal health till within a few weeks of her decease, 
being interred a few days before the death of Miss Fuller. 



MEMOIRS OF MR. FULLER. 



subject, and her intention if she had been spared 
to have attended more to her duty in this respect. 

" This was her last effort, as she scarcely spoke 
a sentence afterwards, but lay with great composure 
and serenity of aspect, waiting for her change, 
which took place between four and five o'clock in 
the afternoon of June 11, 1816. Her age was 
nineteen years. 

" She was interred on sabbath evening, June 
16 ; when an impressive discourse was addressed 
to a crowded audience, by Mr. Hall, from Psalm 
cii. 23, 24." 

To her bereaved mother Miss Fuller had been a 
wise and faithful counsellor in difficulty, and a sym 
pathizing friend in affliction. Mrs. Fuller now re 
moved to a small house near the residence of her 
daughter-in-law Mrs. Levet ; but subsequently was 
induced, by several considerations, to remove to 
Bristol, where, after a residence of two years, she 
died, October 29, 1825, in the sixty-second year of 
her age. 

She was a woman of superior mind, and much 
reading and reflection. Though a constitutional 
reserve, confirmed by the retired scenes of her 
early life, rendered her less adapted to that social 
intercourse which her station required, this defect 
was counterbalanced by a pre-eminent share of dis 
cretion, by which she not only avoided many of 
those evils which an incautious deportment on the 
part of a minister's wife has been known to occa 
sion ; but, with the aid of a sound judgment, ren 
dered the most essential service to her husband as 
a confidential adviser in difficulties. Mr. Fuller, 
in a passage of his diary, has recorded the follow 
ing brief testimony: " I have found my marriage 
contribute greatly to my peace and comfort, and 
the comfort of my family ; for which I render 
humble and hearty thanks to the God of my life." 

Though she was peculiarly at home in domestic 
engagements, her unwearied industry afforded op 
portunity for the record of her private views and 
feelings on a variety of subjects, as well as of nu 
merous extracts from approved authors. After the 
lamented decease of her husband, and amidst various 
perplexing avocations, chiefly connected with the 
publication of the first edition of his works, and 
distressing anxiety relative to her daughter, she 
transcribed the exposition of the Psalms' from Mr. 
Fuller's short-hand MS. Her sight suffered from 
the intense application; nor was it till within a 
short time of her death that the laborious under 
taking was completed. 

Few persons have maintained a more close and 
devout intercourse with God than Mrs. Fuller ; her 
exercises of mind were pre-eminently devotional ; 



and the Psalms of David, and the poetical works 
of her favourite Watts, were a never-failing source 
of interest and profit. As she was not accustomed 
to keep a chronological diary, and frequently com 
mitted her writings to the flames, the following 
fragments are nearly all that can be found, and 
probably these owe their present existence to an 
oversight : 

" ' That I may be found in Him.' Oh what a 
word is that ! When any person departs this life, it 
is usual to say of their friends and relatives, they 
have lost such a friend. True it is, they are lost 
to this world. They have no more share in any 
thing that is done under the sun ; but, if they were 
believers in Christ, they will be found in Him, at 
the last day. Who can estimate the full extent of 
such an expression as this, or the state of blessed 
ness it includes ? To be found in Christ is to be 
interested in all he has done and suffered his 
atonement, his righteousness, his intercession. O 
Lord, grant that I may thus be found in that day: 
not having on my own righteousness ; but that 
which is through the faith of Christ, the righteous 
ness which is of God by faith." 

" I have this evening heard of the death of a 
member of the church, who died full of peace and 
hope. I desire to feel thankful for the support af 
forded her, and would humbly pray that I may be 
so favoured in my latter end. Oh to be a follower 
of those who through faith and patience inherit the 
promises ! " 

" I have been thinking, this morning, of the pri 
vileges the people of God enjoy in the communion 
of spirits if I may so call it. However distantly 
they may be situated from each other in person, 
there is one general place of rendezvous for kindred 
minds this is a throne of grace. Oh how much 
we live below our mercies, and wrong each other 
and ourselves, when we do not to the full avail our 
selves of this distinguishing privilege ! Surely this, 
improved as it ought, would in a great degree com 
pensate for the absence of dear friends from each 
other. We might here be the means of rendering 
the most effectual assistance to each other. O my 
soul ! I would now charge thee, before the Father 
of mercies and the God of all grace, to be found 
more constantly and more earnestly engaged in this 
important branch of Christian duty. O Thou, from 
whom every good and perfect gift cometh ! I look 
up to thee for grace and strength to enable me to 
discharge this and every other part of duty ; for all 
my sufficiency is of thee." 

" O Lord ! thy footsteps are in the deep waters. 
All things seem dark around me, as it respects thy 
dispensations, both in a way of providence and 



APPENDIX. 



xcm 



grace. Will light and deliverance ever arise ? ' To 
the upright there ariseth light in darkness.' Oh 
may I he found of that number ! O Lord, I have 
no distrust of thy veracity and faithfulness to thy 
promises, but I distrust myself. May it be my chief 
concern to seek first the kingdom of God and his 
righteousness, both for myself and my children ; 
and then I may safely trust that every other needful 
good will be added." 

A continual dread of death was a bar to much of 
that enjoyment which the consolations of the gospel 
are calculated to yield when " flesh and heart fail." 



This, however, near the close of her life was hap- 
pily dissipated, and she met her " last enemy " with 
composure in the full possession of " a good hope 
through grace." 

Her remains, agreeably to her own request, were 
conveyed to Kettering, and deposited beneath the 
same tomb as those of her beloved husband and 
daughter ; on which occasion a discourse was de 
livered by Mr. Hall from the words above quoted, 
which had been frequently used by her as indicative 
of the foundation of her confidence in the prospect 
of death. 



THE 



GOSPEL ITS OWN WITNESS; 



OR, 



THE HOLY NATURE AND DIVINE HARMONY 



CHRISTIAN RELIGION 



CONTRASTED WITH TUB 



IMMORALITY AND ABSURDITY OF DEISM. 



Laying his hand on the Bible, he would say, There is true philosophy. This is the wisdom that speaks to the heart. 
A bad life is the only grand objection to this Book." EARL OF ROCHESTER. 






P R E F A C E. 



THE struggle between religion and irreligion has existed in the world in all ages ; and if there be two opposite inter 
ests which divide its inhabitants, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God, it is reasonable to expect that the 
contest will continue till one of them be exterminated. The peaceful nature of Christianity does not require that we 
should make peace with its adversaries, or cease to repel their attacks, or even that we should act merely on the defen 
sive. On the contrary, we are required to make use of those weapons of the Divine warfare with which we are fur 
nished, for the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 

The opposition of the present age has not been confined to the less important points of Christianity, nor even to its 
first principles : Christianity itself is treated as imposture. The same things, it is true, have been advanced, and as 
frequently repelled, in former ages ; but the adversaries of the gospel of late, encouraged it should seem by the temper 
of the times, have renewed the attack with redoubled vigour. One of their most popular writers, hoping to avail him 
self of this circumstance, is pleased to entitle his performance The Age of Reason. This writer is aware that flattery is 
one of the most powerful means of gaining admission to the human mind ; such a compliment, therefore, to the present 
age, was doubtless considered as a master-stroke of policy. Nor is Mr. Paine less obliging to himself than to his read 
ers, but takes it for granted that the cause for which he pleads is that of reason and truth. The considerate reader, 
however, may remark, that those writers who are not ashamed to beg the question in the title page are seldom the most 
liberal or impartial in the execution of the work. 

One thing which has contributed to the advantage of infidelity, is the height to which political disputes have arisen, 
and the degree in which they have interested the passions and prejudices of mankind. Those who favour the senti 
ments of a set of men in one thing, will be in danger of thinking favourably of them in others ; at least, they will not 
be apt to view them in so ill a light, as if they had been advanced by persons of different sentiments in other things as 
well as in religion. It is true, there may be nothing more friendly to infidelity in the nature of one political system 
than another ; nothing that can justify professing Christians in accusing one another merely on account of a difference 
of this kind, of favouring the interests of atheism and irreligion : nevertheless it becomes those who think favourably 
of the political principles of infidels to take heed, lest they be insensibly drawn away to think lightly of religion. All 
the nations of the earth, and all the disputes on the best or worst modes of government, compared with this, are less 
than nothing and vanity. 

To this it may be added, that the eagerness with which men engage in political disputes, take which side they may, is 
unfavourable to a zealous adherence to the gospel. Any mere worldly object, if it become the principal thing which 
occupies our thoughts and affections, will weaken our attachment to religion ; and if once we become cool and indif 
ferent to this, we are in the high road to infidelity. There are cases, no doubt, relating to civil government, in which 
it is our duty to act, and that with firmness ; but to make such things the chief object of our attention, or the principal 
topic of our conversation, is both sinful and injurious. Many a promising character in the religious world has, by these 
things, been utterly ruined. 

The writer of the following pages is not induced to offer them to the public eye from an apprehension that the 
church of Christ is in danger. Neither the downfal of popery, nor the triumph of infidels, as though they had hereby 
overturned Christianity, have ever been to him the cause of a momtnt's uneasiness. If Christianity be of God, as he 
verily believes it to be, they cannot overthrow it. He must be possessed of but little faith who can tremble, though in 
a storm, for the safety of the vessel which contains his Lord and Master. There would be one argument less for the 
divinity of the Scriptures, if the same powers which gave existence to the antichristian dominion had not been employed 
in taking it away.* But though truth has nothing to fear, it does not follow that its friends should be inactive ; if we 
have no apprehensions for the safety of Christianity, vre may, nevertheless, feel for the rising generation. The Lord 
confers an honour upon his servants in condescending to make use of their humble efforts in preserving and promoting 
his interest in the world. If the present attempt may be thus accepted and honoured by Him, to whose name it is 
rely dedicated, the writer will receive a rich reward. 

Kettering, Oct. 10, 1799. 

The powers of Europe (signified by the ten horns, or "king*) into which the Roman empire should be divided, were to give their kingdoms 
! beast. They did so, and France particularly took the lead. The / arae powers, it is predicted, shall hate the whore, and burn her flesh 
> fire. They have Ivsrun to do so ; and in this business also France has taken the lead. Rev. xvii. 13, 13, 16 18. 

B 2 



INTRODUCTION. 



THE controversies between believers and unbelievers are 
confined to a narrower ground than those of professed be 
lievers with one another. Scripture testimony, any further 
than as it bears the character of truth, and approves itself 
to the conscience, or is produced for the purpose of ex 
plaining the nature of genuine Christianity, is here out of 
the question. Reason is the common ground on which 
they must meet to decide their contests. On this ground 
Christian writers have successfully closed with their an 
tagonists ; so much so that, of late ages, notwithstanding 
all their boast of reason, not one in ten of them can be 
kept to the fair and honourable use of this weapon. On 
the contrary, they are driven to substitute dark insinu 
ation, low wit, profane ridicule, and gross abuse. Such 
were the weapons of Shaftesbury, Tindal, Morgan, Boling- 
broke, Voltaire, Hume, and Gibbon ; and such are the 
weapons of the author of The Age of Eeason. Among 
various well-written performances, in answer to their 
several productions, the reader may see a concise and able 
refutation of the greater part of them in Iceland's Revieto 
of the Deistical Writers. 

It is not my design to go over the various topics usually 
discussed in this controversy, but to select a single one, 
which, I conceive, has not been so fully attended to but 
that it may yet be considered with advantage. The internal 
evidence which Christianity possesses, particularly in respect 
of its holy nature and Divine harmony, will be the subject 
of the present inquiry. 

Mr. Paine, after the example of many others, endeavours 
to discredit the Scriptures by representing the number of 
hands through which they have passed, and the uncertainty 
of the historical evidence by which they are supported. 
" It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us," he says, 
" whether such of the writings as now appear under the 
names of the Old and New Testament are in the same 
state in which those collectors say they found them ; or 
whether they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them 
up." * It is a good work which many writers have un 
dertaken, to prove the validity of the Christian history, 
and to show that we have as good evidence for the truth 
of the great facts which it relates as we have for the truth 
of any ancient events whatever.f But if, in addition to 
this, it can be proved that the Scriptures contain internal 
characteristics of divinity, or that they carry in them the 
evidence of their authenticity, this will at once answer all 
objections from the supposed uncertainty of historical 
evidence. 

Historians inform us of a certain valuable medicine 
called Mithridate, an antidote to poison. It is said that 
this medicine was invented by Mithridates, king of Pontus ; 
that the receipt of it was found in a cabinet, written with 
his own hand, and was carried to Rome by Pompey ; that 
it was translated into verse by Damocrates, a famous 
physician ; and that it was afterwards translated by Galen, 
from whom we have it.J Now, supposing this medicine 
to be efficacious for its professed purpose, of what account 
would it be to object to the authenticity of its history t If 
a modern caviller should take it into his head to allege 
that the preparation has passed through so many hands, 
and that there is so much hearsay and uncertainty attend 
ing it, that no dependence can be placed upon it, and that 
it had better be rejected from our Materia Medica, he 

Aee of Reason, Part I. pp. 10, 11. 
f Lardner, Simpson, and others. 



would be asked, Has it not been tried, and found to be ef 
fectual ; and that in a great variety of instances f Such 
are Mr. Paine's objections to the Bible, and such is the 
answer that may be given him. 

This language is not confined to infidel writers. Mr. 
Locke speaks of what he calls " traditional revelation," or 
revelation as we have it, in such a manner as to convey 
the idea that we have no evidence of the Scriptures being 
the word of God, but from a succession of witnesses hav 
ing told us so. But I conceive these sacred writings 
may contain such internal evidence of their being what 
they profess to be, as that it might, with equal reason, be 
doubted whether the world was created by the power of 
God, as whether they were written by the inspiration of 
his Spirit ; and if so, our dependence is not upon mere 
tradition. 

It is true, the Scriptures having been conveyed to us 
through the medium of man, the work must necessarily, 
in some respects, have been humanized ; yet there may 
be sufficient marks of divinity upon it to render it evident, 
to every candid mind, that it is of God. 

We may call the Mosaic account of the creation a tra 
dition, and may be said to know through this medium that 
the heavens and the earth are the productions of Divine 
power. But it is not through this medium only that we 
know it ; the heavens and the earth carry in them evident 
marks of their Divine original. These works of the Al 
mighty speak for themselves, and in language which none 
but those who are wilfully deaf can misunderstand : " Their 
sound is gone forth throughout all the earth, and their 
words to the end of the world." Were any man to pre 
tend that its being a matter of revelation, and to us merely 
traditional revelation, that God made the heavens and the 
earth, and therefore that a degree of uncertainty must ne 
cessarily attend it, he would be reminded that the thing 
itself carried in it its own evidence. Let it be candidly 
considered whether the same may not be said of the Holy 
Scriptures. They will admit of historical defence, but 
they do not require it. Their contents, come through 
whose hands they may, prove them to be of God. It was 
on this principle that the gospel was proclaimed in the 
form of a testimony. The primitive preachers were not 
required by Him who sent them to prove their doctrine 
in the manner in which philosophers were wont to estab 
lish a proposition ; but to " declare the counsel of God," 
and leave it. In delivering their message, they " com 
mended themselves to every man's conscience in the sight 
of God." 

It is no objection to this statement of things that the 
Scriptures are not embraced by every man, whatever be 
the disposition of his mind. This is a property that no 
Divine production whatever possesses ; and to require it is 
equally unreasonable, as to insist that for a book to be per 
fectly legible it must be capable of being read by those who 
shut their eyes upon it. Mr. Paine holds up the advan 
tages of the book of nature in order to disparage that of 
Scripture, and says, "No deist can doubt whether the 
works of nature be God's works." An admirable proof 
this that we have arrived at the age of reason ! Can no 
atheist doubt it f I might as well say, No Christian doubts 
the truth of the Scriptures : the one proves just as much 
as the other. A prejudiced mind discerns nothing of 

$ Chambers's Dictionary, Art. Mithridate. 
} Human Understanding, Book IV. Chap. XVIII. 



INTRODUCTION. 



Divine beauty either in nature or Scripture ; yet each may 
include the most indubitable evidence of being wrought by 
the tinker of God. 

If Christianity can be proved to be a religion that in 
spires the love of God and man ; yea, and the only religion 
in the world that does so ; if it endues the mind of him 
that embraces it with a principle of justice, meekness, 
chastity, and goodness, and even gives a tone to the morals 
of society at large; it will then appear to carry its evidence 
along with it. The effects which it produces will be its 
letters of recommendation, written, " not with ink, but 
with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, 
but in fleshy tables of the heart." Moreover, if Chris 
tianity can be proved to be in harmony with itself, corre 
spondent with observation and experience, and consistent 
with the clearest dictates of sober reason, it will further 
appear to carry in it its own evidence ; come through 
whose hands it may, it will evince itself to be what it pro- 
femes to be a religion from God. 

I will only add, in this place, that the Christianity here 
defended is not Christianity as it is corrupted by popish 
superstition, or as interwoven with national establishments, 
for the accomplishment of secular purposes ; but as it is 
taught in the New Testament, and practised by sincere 
Christians. There is no doubt but that, in many in 
stances, Christianity has been adopted by worldly men, 
even by infidels themselves, for the purpose of promoting 
their political designs. Finding the bulk of the people 
inclined to the Christian religion under some particular 
form, and attached to certain leading persons among them 
who sustained the character of teachers, they have con 
sidered it as a piece of good policy to give this religion an 
establishment, and these teachers a share in the govern 
ment. It is thus that religion, to its great dishonour, has 
been converted into an engine of state. The politician 
may be pleased with his success, and the teacher with his 
honours, and even the people be so far misled as to love to 
have it so ; but the mischief resulting from it to religion is 
incalculable. Even where such establishments have arisen 
from piety, they have not failed to corrupt the minds of 
Christians from the simplicity which is in Christ. It was 
by these means that the church, at an early period, from 
being the bride of Christ, gradually degenerated to a harlot, 
and, in the end, became the mother of harlots, and abo 
minations of the earth. The good that is done in such 
communities is not in consequence of their peculiar ecclesi 
astical constitution, but in spite of it ; it arises from the 



virtue of individuals, which operates notwithstanding the 
disadvantages of their situation. 

These are the things that afford a handle to unbelievers. 
They seldom choose to attack Christianity as it is drawn 
in the sacred writings, and exemplified in the lives of real 
Christians, who stand at a distance from worldly parade, 
political struggles, or state intrigues ; but as it is corrupted 
and abused by worldly men. Mr. Paine racks his imagin 
ation to make out a resemblance between the heathen 
mythology and Christianity. While he is going over the 
ground of Christianity as instituted by Christ and his apos 
tles, the resemblance is faint indeed. There are only two 
points in which he even pretends to find an agreement, 
and these are formed by his misrepresenting the Scrip 
tures. " The heathen deities were said to be celestially 
begotten; and Christ is called the Son of God.* The 
heathens had a plurality of deities, even twenty or thirty 
thousand ; and Christianity has reduced them to three ! " 
It is easy to see that this is ground not suited to Mr. 
Paine's purpose : he therefore hastens to corrupted Chris 
tianity ; and here he finds plenty of materials. ' The 
statue of Mary," he says, " succeeded the statue of Diana 
of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the 
canonization of saints. The mythologists had gods for 
every thing. The Christian mythologists had saints for 
every thing. The church became as crowded with the 
one as the pantheon had been with the other ; and Rome 
was the place of both."f Very true, Mr. Paine ; but you 
are not so ignorant as to mistake this for Christianity. 
Had you been born and educated in Italy, or Spain, you 
might have been excused in calling this " the Christian 
theory ;" but to write in this manner with your advan 
tages is disingenuous. Such conduct would have dis 
graced any cause but yours. It is capable, however, of 
some improvement. It teaches us to defend nothing but 
the truth as it is in Jesus. It also affords presumptive 
evidence in its favour ; for if Christianity itself were false, 
there is little doubt but that you, or some of your fellow 
labourers, would be able to prove it so ; and this would 
turn greatly to your account. Your neglecting this, and 
directing your artillery chiefly against its corruptions and 
abuses, betray a consciousness that the thing itself, if not 
invulnerable, is yet not so easy of attack. If Christianity 
had really been a relic of heathenism, as you suggest, there 
is little reason to think that you would have so strenuously 
opposed it. 



PART I. 



THE HOLY NATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION CONTRASTED WITH THE 

IMMORALITY OF DEISM. 



Tin: greatest enemies of Christianity would still be thought 
friendly to morality, and will plead for it as necessary to 
the well-being of mankind. However immoral men may 
be in their practice, and to whatever lengths they may 
proceed in extenuating particular vices, yet they cannot 
plead for immorality in the gross. A sober, upright, hum 
ble, chaste, and generous character, is allowed, on all hands, 
to be preferable to one that is profligate, treacherous, 
proud, unchaste, or cruel. Such, indeed, is the sense 
which men possess of right and wrong, that, whenever 
they attempt to disparage the former, or vindicate the 
latter, they are reduced to the necessity of covering each 
with a false guise. They cannot traduce good as good, or 

To give a colour to this statement, he is obliged to affirm a most 
palpable falsehood, that only Geutiles believed Jesus to be the Son 
Of God. 



justify evil as evil. The love of God must be called fanati 
cism, and benevolence to men Methodism, or some such 
opprobrious name, before they can depreciate them. Theft, 
cruelty, and murder, on the other hand, must assume the 
names of wisdom and good policy ere a plea can be set up 
in their defence. Thus were the arguments for the abo 
lition of the slave trade answered, and in this manner was 
that iniquitous traffic defended in the British parliament. 
Doubtless there is a woe hanging over the heads of those 
men who thus called evil good, and good evil; never 
theless we see, even in their conduct, the amiableness 
of righteousness, and the impossibility of fairly oppos 
ing it. 

+ Age of Benson, Part I. p. 5. 



THE MORAL CHARACTER OF GOD. 



CHAPTER I. 

CHRISTIANITY REVEALS A GOD GLORIOUS IN HOLINESS J BUT 
DEISM, THOUGH IT ACKNOWLEDGES A GOD, YET DENIES 
OR OVERLOOKS HIS MORAL CHARACTER. 

THERE are certain perfections which all who acknowledge 
a God agree in attributing to him ; such are those of wis 
dom, power, immutability, &c. These, by Christian di 
vines, are usually termed his natural perfections. There 
are others which no less evidently belong to Deity, such as 
goodness, justice, veracity, &c., all which may be expressed 
in one word holiness ; and these are usually termed his 
moral perfections. Both natural and moral attributes tend 
to display the glory of the Divine character, but especially 
the latter. Wisdom and power, in the Supreme Bemg, 
render him a proper object of admiration ; but justice, 
veracity, and goodness attract our love. No being is be 
loved for his greatness, but for his goodness. Moral ex 
cellence is the highest glory of any intelligent being, created 
or uncreated. Without this, wisdom would be subtlety, 
power tyranny, and immutability the same thing as heing 
unchangeably wicked. 

We account it the glory of revelation that, while it dis 
plays the natural perfections of God in a way superior to 
any thing that has been called religion, it exhibits his 
moral excellence in a manner peculiar to itself. It was 
with good reason that Moses affirmed, in behalf of Israel, 
" Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves 
being judges." The God, or Rock, of Israel is constantly 
described as a Being " glorious in holiness," and as re 
quiring pure and holy worship : " The Lord, the Lord 
God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant 
in goodness and in truth." " The Lord our God is holy." 
" Holy and reverend is his name." " Glory ye in his 
holy name." " And one cried to another, and said, Holy, 
holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of 
his glory." " He is of purer eyes than to behold evil ; 
and cannot look on iniquity." " A God of truth, and 
without iniquity ; just and right is he." Is any thing like 
this to be found in the writings of the ancient heathens 1 
No. The generality of their deities were the patrons of 
vice, and their worship was accompanied with the foulest 
abominations that could disgrace the nature of man. 
Justice, benevolence, and veracity were not considered as 
necessary in any part of their religion ; and a large pro 
portion of it consisted in drunkenness, lewdness, and the 
offering up of human sacrifices. 

The object of Christian adoration is Jehovah, the God 
of Israel ; whose character for holiness, justice, and good 
ness, is displayed in the doctrines and precepts of the gos 
pel in a more affecting light than by any of the preceding 
dispensations. But who or what is the god of deists ? It 
is true they have been shamed out of the polytheism of 
the heathens. They have reduced their thirty thousand 
deities into one ; but what is his character t What attri 
butes do they ascribe to him t For any thing that appears 
in their writings, he is as far from the holy, the just, and 
the good, as those of their heathen predecessors. They 
enjoy a pleasure, it is allowed, in contemplating the pro 
ductions of wisdom and power ; but, as to holiness, it is 
foreign from their inquiries : a holy God does not appear 
to be suited to their wishes. 

Lord Bolingbroke acknowledges a God, but is for re 
ducing all his attributes to wisdom and power ; blaming 
divines for distinguishing between his physical and moral 
attributes ; asserting that " we cannot ascribe goodness 
and justice to God, according to our ideas of them, nor 
argue with any certainty about them ; and that it is ab 
surd to deduce moral obligations from the moral attributes 
of God, or to pretend to imitate him in those attributes." * 

Voltaire admits " a supreme, eternal, incomprehensible 
Intelligence," but passes over his moral character.f 

Mr. Paine says, " I believe in one God, and no more ; " J 
.and in the course of his work ascribes to him the natural 
perfections of wisdom and power ; but is very sparing in 
what he says of his moral excellence, of his being the moral 

See Leland's Eeview, I,et. XXIII. 
+ Ignorant Philosopher, No?. XV. XVI. XVII. 



Governor of the world, and of man's being an accountable 
creature. He affects, indeed, to be shocked at the im 
purity of the ideas and expressions of the Bible, and to 
feel for " the honour of his Creator in having such a book 
called after his name." This is the only passage, that I 
recollect, in which he expresses any concern for the moral 
character of God, and whether this would have appeared, 
but for the sake of giving an edge to reproach, let the 
reader judge. 

How are we to account for these writers thus denying 
or overlooking the moral character of the Deity, but by 
supposing that a holy God is not suited to their inclina 
tions t If we bear a sincere regard to moral excellence, 
we shall regard every being in proportion as he appears to 
possess it ; and if we consider the Divine Being as pos 
sessing it supremely, and as the source of it to all other 
beings, it will be natural for us to love him supremely, 
and all other beings in subserviency to him. And if we 
love him supremely on account of his moral character, it 
will be no less natural to take pleasure in contemplating 
him under that character. 

On the other hand, if we be enemies to moral excellence, 
it will render every being who possesses it unlovely in our 
eyes. Virtuous or holy characters may indeed command 
our respect, and even admiration ; but will not attract our 
affection. Whatever regard we may bear to them, it will 
not be on account of their virtue, but of other qualities of 
which they may be possessed. Virtuous characters may 
be also wise and mighty ; and we may admire their in 
genuity, be delighted with their splendour, and take plea 
sure in visiting them, that we may inspect their curiosities ; 
but, in such cases, the more things of a moral nature are 
kept at a distance, the more agreeable will be our visit. 
Much the same may be said of the Supreme Being. If we 
be enemies to moral excellence, God, as a holy Being, will 
possess no loveliness in our eyes. We may admire him 
with that kind cf admiration which is paid to a great 
genius, and may feel a pleasure in tracing the grandeur 
and ingenuity of his operations ; but the further his moral 
character is kept out of sight, the more agreeable it will be 
to us. 

Lord Shaftesbury, not contented with overlooking, at 
tempts to satirize the Scripture representations of the Divine 
character. " One would think," he says, " it were easy to 
understand that provocation and offence, anger, revenge, 
jealousy in point of honour or power, love of fame, glory, 
and the like, belong only to limited beings, and are ne 
cessarily excluded a Being which is perfect and universal." || 
That many things are attributed to the Divine Being in a 
figurative style, speaking merely after the manner of men, 
and that they are so understood by Christians, Lord 
Shaftesbury must have well known. We do not think it 
lawful, however, so to explain away these expressions as 
to consider the Great Supreme as incapable of being of 
fended with sin and sinners, as destitute of pleasure or 
displeasure, or as unconcerned about his own glory, the 
exercise of which involves the general good of the universe. 
A being of this description would be neither loved nor 
feared, but would become the object of universal contempt. 

It is no part of the imperfection of our nature that we 
are susceptible of provocation and offence, of anger, of 
jealousy, and of a just regard to our own honour. Lord 
Shaftesbury himself would have ridiculed the man, and 
still more the magistrate, that should have been incapable 
of these properties on certain occasions. They are planted 
in our nature by the Divine Being, and are adapted to an 
swer valuable purposes. If they be perverted and abused 
to sordid ends, which is too frequently the case, this does 
not alter their nature, nor lessen their utility. What 
would Lord Shaftesbury have thought of a magistrate who 
should have witnessed a train of assassinations and mur 
ders, without being in the least offended at them, or angry 
with the perpetrators, or inclined to take vengeance on 
them, for the public good ! What would he think of a 
British House of Commons which should exercise no 
jealousy over the encroachments of a minister ; or of a 
king of Great Britain who should suffer, with perfect in 
difference, his just authority to be contemned f 

t Age of Eeason, Part I. p. 1. } Ibid. p. 16. 

|| Characteristics, Vol. 1.15. 



THE WORSHIP OF GOD. 



" But we are limited beinirs, and are therefore in dange. 
of having our just rights invaded." True ; and thougl 
God he unlimited, and so in no danger of lieinir deprhe. 
nf his essential glory, yet he may lose his just authority // 
the esteem of creatures ; and were this to take place uni 
versally, the whole creation would !>. :i -( . no of anarch} 
and misery. But we understand Lord Shaftesbury. He 
wishes to compliment his .Maker out of all his moral ex 
cellences. He has no objection to a god, provided he be 
one after his own heart, one who shall pay no such regard 
to human affairs as to call men to account for their un 
godly deeds. If he thought the Creator of the world to 
bear such a character, it is no wonder that he should speak 
of him with what he calls " good humour, or pleasant rj ." 
In speaking of such a Being, he can, as Mr. Hume ex 
presses it, " feel more at ease " than if he conceived of 
God as he is characterized in the Holy Scriptures. But let 
men beware how they play with such subjects. Their 
conceptions do not alter the nature of God ; and however 
they suffer themselves to trifle now, they may find in the 
end that there is not only a God, but a God that jitdtjeth 
in the earth. 



CHAPTER II. 

CHRISTIANITY TEACHES US TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD, AND TO 
DEVOTE OURSELVES TO HIS SERVICE; BUT DEISM, THOUGH 
IT CONFESSES ONE SUPREME BEING, YET REFUSES TO 
WORSHIP HIM. 

IF there is a God he ought to be worshipped. This is a 
principle which no man will be able to eradicate from his 
bosom, or even to suppress, but at great labour and ex 
pense. The Scriptures, it is well known, both inculcate 
and inspire the worship of God. Their language is, " O 
come, let us sing unto the Lord ; let us make a joyful 
noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before his 
presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto 
him with psalms." " O come, let us worship and bow 
down : let us kneel before the Lord our Maker." " Give 
unto the Lord glory and strength ; give unto the Lord the 
glory due unto his name : bring an offering, and come into 
his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness ; 
fear before him all the earth." " Give thanks unto the 
Lord ; call upon his name ; make known his deeds among 
the people." " Glory ye in his holy name : let the heart of 
them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and his 
strength ; seek his face evermore." 

The spirit also which the Scriptures inspire is favourable 
to Divine worship. The grand lesson which they teach is 
tote ; and love to God delights to express itself in acts of 
pbedience, adoration, supplication, and praise. The na- 
ural language of a heart well affected to God is, " I will 
call upon him as long as I live." " Bless the Lord, O my 
oul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name." 
Be careful for nothing ; but in every thing by prayer and 
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made 
known unto God." 

Is it thus with our adversaries! They speak, indeed, 

" true and fabulous theology," and of " true and false 

Migion;" and often talk of "adoring" the Supreme 

Being. But if there be no true religion among Christians, 

where are we to look for itt Surely not among deists. 

Their " adorations " seem to be a kind of exercises much 

resembling the benevolent acts of certain persons, who are 

> extremely averse from ostentation, that nobody knows 

of their being charitable but themselves. 

Mr. Paine professes to believe in the equality of man, 

I that religious duty consists in " doing justice, loving 

Percy," and what t I thought to be sure he was going 

add " walking humbly with God." But I was mis- 

iken. Mr. Paine supplies the place of walking humbly 

ntli dod, by adding, and endeavouring to make our f,i- 

Characteristics, Vol. I. \ 3. + Age of Ee.K)n, Part I. p. 2. 

i Ibid. p. 21. 



lotc creatures happy." f Some people would have thought 
that this was included in doing justice and loving mercy 
hut Mr. Paine had rather use words without meaning than 
write in BnOOf of godliness. "Walking humhly"\N it!, 
God" is not comprehended in the list of his "religious 
duties." The very phrase offends him. It is that to him, 
in quoting Scripture, which a nonconductor is to the 
electrical fluid : it causes him to fly off in an oblique di 
rection ; and, rather than say any thing on so offensive a 
subject, to deal in unmeaning tautology. 

Mr. Paine not only avoids the mention of " walking 
humbly with God," but attempts to load the practice itself 
with the foulest abuse.J He does not consider himself as 
"an outcast, a beggar, or a worm ;" he does not approach 
his Maker through a Mediator ; he considers " redemption 
as a fable," and himself as standing in an honourable situ 
ation with regard to his relation to the Deity. Some of 
this may be true, but not the whole. The latter part is 
only a piece of religious gasconade. If Mr. Paine really 
thinks so well of his situation as he pretends, the belief of 
an hereafter would not render him the slave of terror.} 
But, allowing the whole to be true, it proves nothing. A 
high conceit of oneself is no proof of excellence. If he 
choose to rest upon this foundation, he must abide the 
consequence ; but he had better have forborne to calum 
niate others. What is it that has transported this child 
of reason into a paroxysm of fury against devout people t 
By what spirit is he inspired, in pouring forth such a tor 
rent of slander! Why is it that he must accuse their hu 
mility of " ingratitude," their grief of " affectation," and 
their prayers of being "dictatorial" to the Almighty! 
" Cain hated his brother. And wherefore hated he him 1 
Because his own works were evil, and his brother's right 
eous." Prayer and devotion are things that Mr. Paine 
should have let alone, as being out of his province. By 
attempting, however, to deprecate them, he has borne wit 
ness to the devotion of Christians, and fulfilled what is 
written in a book which he affects to despise, " Speaking 
evil of the things which he understands not." 

To admit a God, and yet refuse to worship him, is a 
modern and inconsistent practice. It is a dictate of reason 
as well as of revelation, " If the Lord be God, worship 
him ; and if Baal, worship him." It never was made a 
question, whether the God in whom we believe should re 
ceive our adorations. All nations, in all ages, paid re 
ligious homage to the respective deities, or supposed deities, 
in which they believed. Modern unbelievers are the only 
men who have deviated from this practice. How this is 
to be accounted for is a subject worthy of inquiry. To me 
it appears as follows : 

In former times, when men were weary of the worship 
of the true God, they exchanged it for that of idols. I 
know of no account of the origin of idolatry so rational as 
that which is given by revelation. " Men did not like to 
retain God in their knowledge ; therefore they were given 
up to a mind void of judgment ; to change the glory of the 
incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible 
man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts, and creeping 
things ; and to defile themselves by abominable wicked 
ness." || It was thus with the people who came to inhabit 
the country of Samaria after the Israelites were carried 
:aptives into Assyria. At first, they seemed desirous to 
know and fear the God of Israel ; but when they came to 
be informed of his holy character, and what kind of wor 
ship he required, they presently discovered their dislike. 
They pretended to fear him, but it was mere pretence ; for 
every nation " made gods of their own."1T Now gods of 
:heir own making would doubtless be characterized accord- 
ing to their own mind : they would be patrons of such 
vices as their makers wished to indulge ; gods whom they 
could approach without fear, and in addressing whom they 
could " be more at ease," as Hume says, than in address 
ing the one living and true God ; gods, in fine, the worship 
if whom might be accompanied with banquetings, r< 
ings, drunkenness, and lewdness. These, I conceive, 
rather than the mere falling down to an idol, were the ex 
ercises that interested the passions of the worshippers. 
These were the exercises that seduced the ungodly part of 



i Age of Reason, Part II. near the end. 

H 3 Kings xvii. 29. 



Bom. i. 



8 



THE WORSHIP OF GOD. 



the Israelitish nation to an imitation of the heathens. They 
found it extremely disagreeable to be constantly employed 
in the worship of a holy God. Such worship would awe 
their spirits, damp their pleasures, and restrain their in 
clinations. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should 
be continually departing from the worship of Jehovah, and 
leaning towards that which was more congenial with their 
propensities. But the situation of modern unbelievers is 
singular. Things are so circumstanced with them, that 
they cannot worship the gods which they prefer. They 
never fail to discover a strong partiality in favour of hea 
thens, but they have not the face to practise or defend 
their absurd idolatries. The doctrine of one living and 
true God has appeared in the world, by means of the 
preaching of the gospel, with such a blaze of evidence, that 
it has forced itself into the minds of men, whatever has 
been the temper of their hearts. The stupid idolatry of 
past ages is exploded. Christianity has driven it out of 
Europe. The consequence is, great numbers are obliged 
to acknowledge a God whom they cannot find in their 
hearts to worship. 

If the light that is gone abroad in the earth would per 
mit the rearing of temples to Venus, or Bacchus, or any of 
the rabble of heathen deities, there is little doubt but that 
modern unbelievers would, in great numbers, become their 
devotees ; but seeing they cannot have a god whose wor 
ship shall accord with their inclinations, they seem de 
termined not to worship at all. And, to come off with as 
good a grace as the affair will admit, they compliment the 
Deity out of his sovereign prerogatives ; professing to 
" love him for his giving them existence, and all their pro 
perties, without interest, and without subjecting them to 
any thing but their own nature." * 

The introduction of so large a portion of heathen my 
thology into the songs and other entertainments of the 
stage sufficiently shows the bias of people's hearts. The 
house of God gives them no pleasure ; but the resurrection 
of the obscenities, intrigues, and Bacchanalian revels of 
the old heathens affords them exquisite delight. In a 
country where Christian worship abounds, this is plainly 
saying, ' What a weariness is it ! Oh that it were no more ! 
Since, however, we cannot introduce the worship of the 
gods, we will neglect all worship, and celebrate the praises 
of our favourite deities in another form.' In a country 
where deism has gained the ascendency, this principle is 
carried still further. Its language there is, ' Seeing we 
cannot, for shame, worship any other than the one living 
and true God, let us abolish the day of worship, and sub 
stitute in its plaqe one day in ten, which shall be devoted 
chiefly to theatrical entertainments, in which we can in 
troduce as much heathenism as we please.' 

Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice of considering the 
Deity as infinitely superior to mankind ; but he represents 
it, at the same time, as very generally attended with un 
pleasant effects, and magnifies the advantages of having 
gods which are only a little superior to ourselves. He 
says, "While the Deity is represented as infinitely superior 
to mankind, this belief, though altogether just, is apt, when 
joined with superstitious terrors, to sink the human mind 
into the lowest submission and abasement, and to repre 
sent the monkish virtues of mortification, penance, hu 
mility, and passive suffering, as the only qualities which 
are acceptable to him. But where the gods are conceived 
to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been 
many of them advanced from that inferior rank, we are 
more at our ease in our addresses to them, and may even, 
without profaneness, aspire sometimes to a rivalship and 
emulation of them. Hence activity, spirit, courage, mag 
nanimity, love of liberty, and all the virtues which ag 
grandize a people." f It is easy to perceive, from this 
passage, that though Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice 
of conceiving of a God infinitely superior to us, yet his 
inclination is the other way. At least, in a nation the 
bulk of which will be supposed to be inclined to super 
stition, it is better, according to his reasoning, and more 
friendly to virtue, to promote the worship of a number of 
imaginary deities, than of the one only living and true 
God. Thus " the fool saith in his heart, No God !" 

Ignorant Philosopher, No. XXIV. 
+ Dissertation on the Natural History of Religion, \ 10. 



The sum of the whole is this : Modern unbelievers are 
deists in theory, pagans in inclination, and atheists in 
practice. 

If deists loved the one only living and true God, they 
would delight in worshipping him ; for love cannot be 
inoperative, and the only possible way for it to operate 
towards an infinitely glorious and all-perfect Being is by 
worshipping his name and obeying his will. If Mr. Paine 
really felt for " the honour of his Creator," as he affects 
to do, J he would mourn in secret for all the great wicked 
ness which he has committed against him ; he would lie 
in the dust before him, not merely as " an outcast, a beggar, 
and a worm," but as a sinner, deserving his eternal dis 
pleasure. He would be glad of a Mediator, through whom 
he might approach his offended Creator ; and would con 
sider redemption by his blood, not as " a fable," but a 
Divine reality, including all his salvation, and all his desire. 
Yea, he himself would " turn devout ;" and it would be 
said of him, as of Saul of Tarsus, " Behold, he prayeth!" 
Nor would his prayers, though importunate, be " dicta 
torial," or his grief " affected." On the contrary, he would 
look on Him whom he had pierced, and mourn, as one 
mourneth for an only son ; and be in bitterness, as one 
that is in bitterness for his first-born. But these are things 
pertaining to godliness ; things, alas for him ! the mention 
of which is sufficient to inflame his mind with malignity, 
and provoke him to the most outrageous and abusive 
language. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE CHRISTIAN STANDARD OF MORALITY IS ENLARGED, 
AND FREE FROM IMPURITY ; BUT DEISM CONFINES OUR 
OBLIGATIONS TO THOSE DUTIES WHICH RESPECT OUR 
OWN SPECIES, AND GREATLY PALLIATES VICE WITH 
REGARD TO A BREACH EVEN OF THEM. 

PERSONS who profess the strictest regard to the rule of 
duty, and carry the extent of it to the highest pitch, may, 
it is allowed, be insincere, and contradict by their practice 
what they advance in their professions. But those whose 
ideas of virtue are low and contracted, and who embrace 
every opportunity to reconcile the vices of the world with 
its sacred precepts, cannot possibly be accounted any other 
than its enemies. 

That which the Scriptures call holiness, spirituality, S$c., 
as much surpasses every thing that goes under the names 
of morality and virtue among unbelievers as a living man 
surpasses a painting, or even a rude and imperfect daub 
ing. If, in this controversy, I have used these terms to 
express the Scriptural ideas, it is not because, in their or 
dinary acceptation, they are equal to the purpose, but for 
the sake of meeting unbelievers upon their own ground. 
I have a right, however, to understand by them those dis 
positions of the mind, whatever they be, which are right, 
Jit, or amiable; and, so explained, I undertake to prove 
that the morality and virtue inculcated by the gospel is 
enlarged and free from impurity, while that which is taught 
by its adversaries is the reverse. 

It is a distinguishing property of the Bible, that all its 
precepts aim directly at the heart. It never goes about to 
form the mere exterior of man. To merely external duties 
it is a stranger. It forms the lives of men no otherwise 
than by forming their dispositions. It never addresses 
itself to their vanity, selfishness, or any other corrupt pro 
pensity. You are not pressed to consider what men will 
think of you, or how it will affect your temporal interest ; 
but what is right, and what is necessary to your eternal 
well-being. If you comply with its precepts, you must 
be, and not merely seem to be. It is the heart that is re 
quired, and all the different prescribed forms of worship 
and obedience are but so many modifications or varied 
expressions of it. 

Is any thing like this to be found in the writings of 
t Age of Reason, Part I. p. 16. 



THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 



deists 1 No. Their deity docs not seem to take cognizance 
of the heart. According to them, " There is no merit or 
:rime in intention." * Their morality only goes to form 
the exterior of man. It allows the utmost scope for wicked 
cl.-Mivs, provided they be not carried into execution to the 
injury of society . 

The morality which the Scriptures inculcate is summed 
up in these few words : " Thou shall love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy 
mind, with all thy strength ; and thy neighbour as thy 
self." This single principle is competent to the govern 
ment of all intelligent nature. It is a band that would 
hold together the whole rational creation, and diffuse peace, 
order, and happiness wherever it existed. 

If mankind loved God supremely, there would be no 
idolatry upon earth, nor any of its attendant abominations ; 
no profaning the name of God, nor making a gain of god 
liness ; no opposing, corrupting, perverting, nor abusing 
the truth ; no perjuries, nor hypocrisies ; no despising of 
those that are good ; no arrogance, ingratitude, pride, nor 
self-complacency under the smiles of providence ; and no 
murmuring, heart-rising, sullenness, nor suicide under its 
frowns. Love would render it their meat and drink to 
fear, honour, and obey him, and induce them to take every 
thing well at his hands. And if they loved their fellow 
creatures as themselves, for his sake, there would be no 
wars, rivaUhips, antipathies, nor breach of treaties between 
nations ; no envyings, strifes, wrongs, slanders, duels, liti 
gations, nor intrigues between neighbours ; no flattering 
complaisance nor persecuting bitterness in religion ; no 
deceit, fraud, nor overreaching in trade ; no tyranny, 
venality, haughtiness, nor oppression among the great ; no 
emy, discontent, disaffection, cabals, nor evil-devisings 
among common people ; no murders, robberies, thefts, 
burglaries, nor brothels in city or country ; no cruelty in 
parents or masters ; no ingratitude nor disobedience in 
children or servants ; no unkindness, treachery, nor im 
placable resentments between friends ; no illicit con 
nexions between the sexes ; no infidelities, jealousies, nor 
bitter contentions in families ; in short, none of those 
streams of death, one or more of which flow through every 
vein of society, and poison iU enjoyments. 

Such is the principle and rule of Christian morality ; and 
what has deism to substitute in its place ! Can it find a 
succedaneum for love 1 No, but it proposes the love of 
ourselves instead of the love of God. Lord Bolingbroke 
resolves all morality into self-love, as its first principle. 
" We love ourselves," he says, " we love our families, we 
love the particular societies to which we belong ; and our 
benevolence extends at last to the whole race of mankind. 
Like so many different vortices, the centre of all is self- 
love." f Such also are the principles of Volney. 

Could this disposition be admitted as a proper source of 
moral action, the world would certainly not be wanting in 
morality. All men possess at least the principle of it, 
whether they carry it to the extent which Lord Bolingbroke 
proposes or not ; for though some may err in the choice of 
their end, and others in the means of obtaining it, yet no 
man was ever so wanting in regard to himself, as inten 
tionally to pursue his own injury. But if it should prove 
that to render self-love the source of moral action is the 
same thing as for every individual to treat himself as the 
Supreme Being, and therefore that this principle, instead of 
being a source of virtue, is the very essence of vice, and 
the source of all the mischief in the universe, consequences 
may follow of a very different complexion. 

To subordinate self-love I have no objection. It occu 
pies a place in the Christian standard of morality, being 
the measure of that love which we owe to our fellow crea 
tures. And as the universal love which we owe to them 
does not hinder but that some of them, by reason of their 
situation or peculiar relation to us, may require a larger 
portion of our regard than others, it is the same with re 
spect to ourselves. Our own concerns are our own imme 
diate charge ; and those which are of the greatest import 
ance, such as the concerns of our souls, undoubtedly 
require a proportionate degree of attention. But all this 
does not affect the present subject of inquiry. It is our 

Volney'i Law of Nature, p. 18. 

+ Posthumous Work*, VoL V. p. 82. t Workt, Vol. V. p. 90. 

B 



supreme, and not our subordinate regard, that will ever be 
tin- source of action. 

I take it for granted that it is the intention of every good 
government, human or Divine, to vnite its subjects, and 
not to set them at variance. But there can be no union 
without a common object of regard. Either a character 
whom all love and venerate, or an end which all pursue, 
or both, is that to a community which a head-stone is to 
an arch ; nor can they keep together without it. It is thus 
that the love of God holds creation together. He is that 
lovely character to whom all holy intelligences bear su 
preme affection ; and the display of his glory, in the uni 
versal triumph of truth and righteousness, is that end which 
they all pursue. Thus united in their grand object, they 
cannot but feel a union of heart with one another, arising 
from what is common to every other voluntary union a 
congeniality of sentiments and pursuits. 

But if our supreme affection terminate on ourselves, and 
no being, created or uncreated, be regarded but for our 
own sakes, it is manifest there can be no union beyond the 
sphere in which other beings become voluntarily subservi 
ent to our wishes. The Supreme Being, if our plan do 
not comport with his, will be continually thwarting us ; 
and so we shall be always at variance with him. And as 
to created beings, those individuals whom we desire to be 
subservient to our wishes, having the same right, and the 
same inclination, to require that we should be subservient 
to theirs, will also be continually thwarting us ; and so we 
shall always be at variance with them. In short, nothing 
but an endless succession of discord and confusion can be 
the consequence. Every one setting up for pre-eminence, 
every one must, of course, contribute to the general state 
of anarchy and misery which will pervade the community. 
Such is, in fact, the state of this apostate world ; and but 
for Divine Providence, which for wise ends balances all 
human affairs, causing one set of evils to counteract the 
influence of another, and all to answer ends remote from 
the intention of the perpetrators, it must be overset by its 
own disorders. 

To regard every other being, created or uncreated, only 
for our own sakes, is supreme self-love ; and, instead of 
being a source of virtue, is itself abominable, and the source 
of all the mischief and misery in the universe. All the 
evils just enumerated are to be traced to this principle as 
their common parent ; nor is there any ground of hope 
that it will ever produce effects of a different nature. 
Some persons have talked much of " self-love ripening into 
benevolence." Had it been said malevolence, it had been 
nearer the truth ; for it is contrary to all experience that 
any thing should change its nature by becoming more ma 
ture. No, a child in knowledge may discern that, if ever 
genuine benevolence exist in the breast of an individual, 
or extend its healing wings over a bleeding world, it must 
be by the subversion of this principle, and by the prevalence 
of that religion which teaches us to love God supremely, 
ourselves subordiuately, and our fellow creatures as our 
selves. 

To furnish a standard of morality, some of our adver 
saries have had recourse to the laics of the state ; avowing 
them to be the rule or measure of virtue. Mr. Hobbes 
maintained that the civil law was the sole foundation of 
right and wrong, and that religion had no obligation but as 
enjoined by the magistrate. And Lord Bolingbroke often 
writes in a strain nearly similar, disowning any other sane* 
tion or penalty by which obedience to the law of nature 
is enforced than those which are provided by the laws of 
the land. J But this rule is defective, absurd, contradictory, 
and subversive of all true morality. First, It is grossly 
defective. This is justly represented by a prophet of their 
own. " It is a narrow notion of innocence," says Seneca, 
" to measure a man's goodness only by the law. Of how 
much larger extent is the rule of duty, or of good offices, 
than that of legal right ! How many things are there 
which piety, humanity, liberality, justice, and fidelity re 
quire, which yet are not within the compass of the public 
statutes!" Secondly, It is absurd; for if the public 
statutes be the only standard of right and wrong, legislators 
in framing them could be under no law ; nor is it possible 

t In Inland's Advantage* and Neccuity of Revelation, Vol. II. Part 
II. Chap. III. p. 42. 



10 



THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 



that in any instance they should have enacted injustice. 
Thirdly, It is contradictory. Human laws, we all know, 
require different and opposite things in different nations, 
and in the same nation at different times. If this princi 
ple be right, it is right for deists to be persecuted for their 
opinions at one period, and to persecute others for theirs 
at another. Finally, It is subversive of all true morality. 
" The civil laws," as Dr. Leland has observed, " take no 
cognizance of secret crimes, and provide no punishment 
for internal bad dispositions or corrupt affections. A man 
may be safely as wicked as he pleases on this principle, 
provided he can manage so as to escape punishment from 
the laws of his country, which very bad men, and those 
that are guilty of great vices, easily may, and frequently 
do evade." 

Rousseau has recourse to feelings as his standard. " I 
have only to consult myself," he says, " concerning what I 
ought to do. All that I feel to be right is right. What 
ever I feel to be wrong is wrong. All the morality of our 
actions lies in the judgment we ourselves form of them." * 
By this rule his conduct through life appears to have been 
directed ; a rule which, if universally regarded, would 
deluge the world with every species of iniquity. 

But that on which our opponents insist the most, and 
with the greatest show of argument, is the law and light 
of nature. This is their professed rule on almost all occa 
sions, and its praises they are continually sounding. I 
have no desire to depreciate the light of nature, or to dis 
parage its value as a rule. On the contrary, I consider it 
as occupying an important place in the Divine government. 
Whatever may be said of the light possessed by the heathen, 
as being derived from revelation, I ftel no difficulty in ac 
knowledging that the grand law which they are under is 
that of nature. Revelation itself appears to me so to re 
present it ; holding it up as the rule by which they shall 
be judged, and declaring its dictates to be so clear as to 
leave them without excuse.-^ Nature and Scripture ap 
pear to me to be as much in harmony as Moses and 
Christ ; both are celebrated in the same Psalm. J 

By the light of nature, however, I do not mean those 
ideas which heathens have actually entertained, many of 
which have been darkness, but those which were presented 
to them by the works of creation, and which they might 
have possessed, had they been desirous of retaining God in 
their knowledge. And by the dictates of nature, with re 
gard to right and wrong, I understand those things which 
appear, to the mind of a person sincerely disposed to un 
derstand and practise his duty, to be natural, jit, or reason 
able. There is, doubtless, an eternal difference between 
right and wrong ; and this difference, in a vast variety of 
instances, is manifest to every man who sine; rely and im 
partially considers it. So manifest have the power and 
Godhead of the Creator been rendered, in every age, that 
no person of an upright disposition could, through mere 
mistake, fall into idolatry or impiety ; and every one who 
has continued in these abominations is without excuse. 
The desire also which every human being feels of having 
justice done to him from all other persons must render it 
sufficiently manifest, to his judgment, that he ought to do 
the same to them ; and, wherein he acts otherwise, his 
conscience, unless it be seared as with a hot iron, must 
accuse him. 

But does it follow from hence that revelation is un 
necessary 1 Certainly not. It is one thing for nature to 
afford so much light in matters of right and wrong, as to 
leave the sinner without excuse ; and another to afford 
him any well-grounded hope of forgiveness, or to answer 
his difficulties concerning the account which something 
within him says he must hereafter give of his present 
conduct. 

Further, It is one thing to leave sinners without excuse 
in sin, and another thing to recover them from it. That 
the light of nature is insufficient for the latter is demon 
strated by melancholy fact. Instead of returning to God 
and virtue, those nations which have possessed the highest 
degrees of it have gone further and further into immorality. 
There is not a single example of a people, of their own 

Emilius, Vol. I. pp. 166168. 
+ Bom. ii. 12 16; i. 20. t Psal. xix. 



accord, returning to the acknowledgment of the true God, 
or extricating themselves from the most irrational species 
of idolatry, or desisting from the most odious kinds of vice. 
Those nations where science diffused a more than ordinary 
lustre were as superstitious and as wicked as the most 
barbarous, and in many instances exceeded them. It was, 
I doubt not, from a close observation of the different effi 
cacy of nature and Scripture, that the writer of the nine 
teenth Psalm, (a Psalm which Mr. Paine pretends to ad 
mire,) after having given a just tribute of praise to the 
former, affirmed of the latter, " The law of Jehovah is per 
fect, converting the soul." 

Again, It is one thing for that which is natural, fit, or 
reasonable, in matters of duty, to approve itself to a mind 
sincerely disposed to understand and practise it, and another 
to approve itself to a mind of an opposite description. 
The judgments of men concerning the dictates of nature 
are greatly influenced by their prevailing inclinations. If 
under certain circumstances they feel prompted to a par 
ticular course of conduct, they will be apt to consider that 
incitement as a dictate of nature, though it may be no 
other than corrupt propensity ; and thus, while the law of 
nature is continually in their mouth, their principles, as 
well as their conduct, are a continual violation of it. How 
was it that, notwithstanding the light of nature shone 
around the old philosophers, their minds, in matters of 
morality, were dark as night, and their precepts, in many 
instances, full of impurity t Did nature inspire Plato to 
teach the doctrine of a community of wives ; Lycurgus to 
tolerate dexterous thieving ; Solon to allow of sodomy ; 
Seneca to encourage drunkenness and suicide ; and almost 
all of them to declare in favour of lewdness ? No, verily ; 
it is a perversion of language to call the principles of such 
men the dictates of nature ; they are unnatural and 
abominable, as contrary to reason as to religion. 

It is true, what is called nature by modern infidels is 
not quite so gross as the above, but it falls very little 
short of it. So far as relates to the encouragement of theft, 
and perhaps of unnatural crimes, they would disavow ; 
and for this we are indebted to Christianity ; but as to 
fornication and adultery, they are not a whit behind their 
predecessors. Lord Herbert, the father of the English 
deists, and whose writings are far more sober than the 
generality of those who have come after him, apologizes 
for lewdness, in certain cases, as resembling thirst in a 
dropsy, and inactivity in a lethargy.|| Lord Bolingbroke 
unblushingly insinuates that the only consideration that 
can reconcile a man to confine himself by marriage to one 
woman, and a woman to one man, is this, that nothing 
hinders but that they may indulge their desires with 
others. If This is the same as accusing the whole human 
race of incontinency, and denying that there is any such 
thing as conjugal fidelity ; a plain proof that, whoever was 
clear of this indecent charge, Lord Bolingbroke was not. 
Mr. Hume, who has written a volume on the principles of 
morality, scruples not to stigmatize self-denial as a 
" monkish virtue ;" and adopts the opinion of a French 
writer, that " adultery must be practised if we would ob 
tain all the advantages of life ; that female infidelity, when 
known, is a small thing, and when unknown, nothing." 
These writers will, on some occasions, descant in favour 
of chastity, as being conducive to health and reputation ; 
but on others they seldom fail to apologize for the con 
trary, and that under the pretence of indulging the dictates 
of nature. Yet the same things might be alleged in be 
half of oppression, revenge, theft, duelling, ambitious war, 
and a thousand other vices which desolate the earth : they 
are practices which men, placed in certain circumstances, 
will feel themselves prompted to commit ; nor is there a 
vice that can be named but what would admit of such an 
apology. 

Finally, It is one thing for the light of nature to be so 
clear as to render idolatry, impiety, and injustice inex 
cusable ; and another thing to render the w/tole will of our 
Creator evident, and that in the most advantageous man 
ner. If a person, possessed of only the light of nature, 
were ever so sincerely desirous of knowing God ; or 

} See Iceland's Advantages and Necessity of Eevelation, Vol. II. pp. 
|| Leland's Review, &c. Vol. I. Let. 1. IT Works, Vol. V. p. 167. 



THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 



1! 



grieved for the sins of which his conscience accused him ; 
or attached to the holy, the just, and the pood; or disposed 
to obey his Creator's will if he did but understand it ; 
though he should be in no danger of confounding the dic 
tates of nature with those of corrupt propensity ; jet he 
mu-t labour under great disadvantages, which, allowing 
they might not affect his eternal state, yet would greatly 
injure his present peace and usefulness. To illustrate this 
remark, let us suppose the inhabitants of a province to 
throw off the government of a just and lawful prince. 
Beinir once engaged, they may feel themselves impelled to 
go forward. They may choose new rulers, and use all 
possible means to efface every sign and memorial of the 
authority of their ancient sovereign. They may even labour 
to forget, and teach their children to forget, if possible, 
that there over was such a character in being, to whom 
they owed allegiance. Yet, after all, there may be certain 
traces and memorials of his government which it is not in 
their power to efface. Yea, there may be continued in 
stances of forbearance and clemency, which, in spite of all 
their efforts, will bear witness of his goodness and just 
authority over them. Thus it was that God, while he 
" suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, never 
theless left not himself without a witness, in that he did 
good, and gave them rain from heaven, and fruitful sea 
sons, filling their hearts with food and gladness." But as 
the memorials of just authority, in the one case, though 
sufficient to leave the rebellious without excuse, would 
not contain a full expression of the prince's will, nor be 
conveyed in so advantageous a manner as that in which 
he treated his professed subjects ; so the light afforded by 
the works of nature and the continued goodness of God, 
in the other, though sufficient to leave the world without 
excuse, does not express his tcAofe will, nor convey what 
it does express so advantageously as by revelation. And 
as an individual, residing in the midst of the rebellious 
province, whose heart might relent, and who might long to 
return to his allegiance, would be under inexpressible dis 
advantages, so it must necessarily be with a heathen whose 
desire should be towards the God against whom he had 
inned. 

The amount is, that modern unbelievers have no stand 
ard of morals, except it be their own inclinations. Morality 
with them is any thing, or nothing, as convenience re 
quires. On some occasions they will praise that of Jesus 
Christ ; but ere we can have time to ask them, Why then 
do you not submit to it 1 they are employed in opposing 
it. Attend to their general declamations in favour of vir 
tue, and you will be ready to imagine they are its warmest 
friends ; but follow them up, and observe their exposition 
of particular precepts, and you will be convinced that they 
are its decided enemies, applauding in the gross that which 
they are ever undermining in detail. 

By the foolish and discordant accounts which these 
writers give of morality, it should seem that they know 
not what it is. Every new speculator is dissatisfied with 
the definition of his predecessor, and endeavours to mend 
it. " Virtue," says Lord Shaftesbury, " is a sense of 
beauty, of harmony, of order, and proportion, an affection 
towards the whole of our kind or species." " It is," says 
Lord Bolingbroke, " only the love of ourselves." " It is 
every thing that tends to preserve and perfect man," says 
Volney ; and as " good reputation " has this tendency, it 
is, in his account, " a moral good." * " It is whatever is 
useful in society," says Mr. Hume ; and as " health, 
cleanliness, facility of expression, broad shoulders, and 
taper legs " are of use, they are to be reckoned among the 
virtues. To this might be added a large portion of 
effrontery, as the last-named writer assures us (it may be 
from his own experience) that " nothing carries a man 
through the world like a true, genuine, natural impu- 
ileuce." f Mr. Paine brings up the rear, and informs us, 
"It is doing justice, loving mercy, and . . . . endeavouring 
to make our fellow creatures happy." O Paine ! had 
you t>ut for once suffered yourself to be taught by a pro- 
jihet. and quoted his words as they stand, you would, un- 
douhtedly, have borne away the palm ; but you had rather 

Law of Nature, p. 17. 
+ Inquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, Sec. 8,7,8. Essays 
Moral and Political, Essay III. p. 15. 



write nonsense than say any thing in favour of god 
liness. 

It is worthy of notice, that, amidst all the discordance of 
these writers, they agree in excluding the Divine Being 
from their theory of morals. They think after their man 
ner ; but " God is not in all their thoughts." In com 
paring the Christian doctrine of morality, the sum of which 
is love, with their atheistical jargon, one seems to hear the 
voice of the Almighty, saying, " Who is this that darken- 
eth counsel with words without knowledge 1 Fear God, 
and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man." 

The words of Scripture are spirit and life. They are 
the language of love. Every exhortation of Christ and his 
apostles is impregnated with this spirit. Let the reader 
turn to the twelfth chapter to the Romans, for an example, 
and read it carefully ; let him find, if he can, any thing, in 
the purest part of the writings of deists, that is worthy of 
being compared with it. No ; virtue itself is no longer 
virtue in their hands. It loses its charms when they 
affect to embrace it. Their touch is that of the cold hand 
of death. The most lovely objct is deprived by it of life 
and beauty, and reduced to a shrivelled mass of inactive 
formality. 



CHAPTER IV. 

CHRISTIANITY FURNISHES MOTIVES TO A VIRTUOUS LIFE, 
WHICH DEISM EITHER REJECTS OR ATTEMPTS TO UNDER 
MINE. 

So long as our adversaries profess a regard to virtue, and, 
with Lord Bolingbroke, J acknowledge that " the gospel is 
in all cases one continued lesson of the strictest morality, 
of justice, of benevolence, and of universal charity," they 
must allow those to be the best principles which furnish 
the most effectual motives for reducing it to practice. 

Now there is not a doctrine in the whole compass of 
Christianity but what is improvable to this purpose. It is 
a grand peculiarity of the gospel that none of its principles 
are merely speculative ; each is pregnant with a practical 
use. Nor does the discovery of it require any extraordi 
nary degree of ingenuity ; real Christians, however weak 
as to their natural capacities, have always been taught, by 
the gospel of Christ, that " denying ungodliness and 
worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and 
godly in the present world." 

Ancient philosophers have taught many things in favour 
of morality, so far at least as respects justice and goodness 
towards our fellow creatures ; but where are the motives 
by which the minds of the people, or even their own minds, 
have been moved to a compliance with them 1 They framed 
a curious machine, but who among them clould discover a 
power to work it 1 What principles have appeared in the 
world, under the name either of philosophy or religion, that 
can bear a comparison with the following 1 " God so 
loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life." " Herein is love, not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitia 
tion for our sins." " Beloved, if God so loved us, we 
ought also to love one another." " Let all bitterness, and 
wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put 
away from you, with all malice : and be ye kind one to 
another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as 
God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." " Be ye there 
fore followers (or imitators) of God, as dear children ; and 
walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath <j\\<-n 
himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet- 
smelling savour." " Ye are a chosen generation, a royal 
priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should 
show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of 
darkness into his marvellous light." " Come out from 
among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch 

t Worlu, Vol. V. p. 188. 



12 



MOTIVES TO A VIRTUOUS LIFE. 



not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, and will be 
a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord Almighty." " Having therefore these pro 
mises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all 
filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the 
fear of God." " If there be therefore any consolation in 
Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the 
Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy : be of 
one accord, of one mind." " Let nothing be done through 
strife or vain-glory ; but in lowliness of mind let each 
esteem other better than themselves." " Dearly beloved, 
I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from 
fleshly lusts, which war against the soul ; having your con 
versation honest among the Gentiles : that, whereas they 
speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good 
works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of 
visitation." " Ye are bought with a price ; therefore 
glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are 
God's." " The love of Christ constraineth us ; because 
we thus judge, that, if one died for all, then were all dead : 
and that he died for all, that they which live should not 
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died 
for them, and rose again." " The day of the Lord will 
come as a thief in the night ; in the which the heavens 
shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall 
melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that 
are therein shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these 
things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought 
ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking 
for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God ! " 
" Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy 
crown." " To him that overcometh will I grant to sit 
with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am 
set down with my Father in his throne." 

These are motives by which Christians in every age have 
been induced to practise that morality which, while writ 
ing against Christianity, Paine, Bolingbroke, and many 
others, have been compelled to applaud. But the far 
greater part of them are rejected by deists ; and what will 
they substitute, of equal efficacy, in their place 1 The 
love of Christ constraineth ^ls ; but what have they to con 
strain them ? Will self-love, or the beauty or utility of 
virtue, answer the purpose ? Let history and observation 
determine. 

It may be alleged, however, that deists do not reject the 
whole of these important motives ; for that some, at least, 
admit the doctrine of a future life, which, with the ac 
knowledgment of one living and true God, may be thought 
sufficient for all the purposes of morality. 

That the doctrine of a future life is of great importance 
in the moral system is allowed ; but the greatest truth, if 
dissevered from other truths of equal importance, will be 
divested of its energy. As well might a hand dissevered 
from the body be represented as sufficient for the purposes 
of labour, as one or two unconnected principles for the 
purpose of morality. This is actually the case in the 
present instance. The doctrine of a future life, as held 
by Christians, has stimulated them to labour and suffer 
without intermission. From a " respect to this recom- 
pence of reward," a kingdom has been refused, where the 
acceptance of it would have interfered with a good con 
science. Yea, life itself has been sacrificed, and that not 
in a few, but in innumerable instances, where it could not 
be retained but at the expense of truth and uprightness. 
But is it thus among deists 1 Does the doctrine of a future 
life, as held by them, produce any such effects "? When was 
it known, or heard, that they sacrificed any thing for this 
or any other principle of a moral nature ^ Who among 
them ever thought of such a thing, or who expected it at 
their hands t 

But this is not all : There is such a connexion in truth, 
that, if one part of it be given up, it will render us less 
friendly towards other parts, and so destroy their efficacy. 
This also is actually the case in the present instance. Our 
adversaries do not cordially embrace even this truth ; but, 
on the contrary, are continually undermining it, and ren 
dering it of no effect. Lord Herbert, it is true, considered 
it as an essential article of natural religion ; and it was 

* Age of Reason, Part I. p. 1. Part II. pp. 100, 101. 
+ Works, Vol. V. 



his opinion that he could scarcely be accounted a reason, 
able creature who denied it ; but this is far from being the 
case with later deistical writers, the greater part of whom 
either deny it, or represent it as a matter of doubt. Some 
of them disown every principle by which it is supported, 
and others go so far as to hold it up to ridicule, labouring 
withal to prove the hope of it unfriendly to the disin 
terested love of virtue. Volney, in his Law of Nature, or 
Catechism for French Citizens, says nothing about it. 
Paine just touches upon it in his Age of Reason, by in 
forming us that "he hopes for happiness beyond this life ; " 
but as happiness has its counterpart, and stands upon the 
general doctrine of retribution, he is afraid to say he be 
lieves it. It must be reduced to a mere matter of " pro 
bability," lest the thought of it should damp him in his 
present pursuits, and render him " the slave of terror." * 
Bolingbroke, though he acknowledges its antiquity, and 
great utility in promoting virtue, yet represents it as a 
" mere invention of philosophers and legislators," and as 
being " originally an hypothesis, and which may, there 
fore, be a vulgar error." " Reason," he says, " will neither 
affirm nor deny a future state." By this the reader might 
be led to expect that this writer was neither for it nor 
against it ; yet the whole of his reasonings are directed to 
undermine it.f Hume, like the writer last mentioned, 
acknowledges the utility of the doctrine, but questions its 
truth. He would not have people disabused, or delivered 
from such a prejudice, because it would free them from 
one restraint upon their passions. Any person who should 
undertake this work, he allows, would be a bad citizen ; 
yet he might, for aught he knows, be a good reasoner.J 
Shaftesbury employs all his wit and satire in endeavouring 
to raise a laugh at the very idea, representing the heathen 
world as very happy till Christianity arose, and teased 
them about an hereafter. " A new sort of policy," he 
says, "which extends itself to another world, and considers 
the future lives and happiness of man rather than the 
present, has made us leap beyond the bounds of natural 
humanity, and, out of a supernatural charity, has taught 
us the way of plaguing one another most devoutly." 

Lord Shaftesbury's wit may very well be passed by, as 
being what it is : in connexion with the foregoing quota 
tions, it suffices to show us what efficacy the doctrine of 
a future life, as held by deists, may be expected to possess. 
But this writer is not contented with raillery : he must 
also attempt to reason against the doctrine ; contending 
that it has a pernicious influence on the morals of men ; 
that it is a mercenary principle, and opposed to the disin 
terested love of virtue, for its own sake. " The principle 
of self-love," he observes, " which is naturally so prevailing 
in us, is improved and made stronger by the exercise of 
the passions on a subject of more extended interest : and 
there may be reason to apprehend that a temper of this 
kind will extend itself through all the parts of life. And 
this has a tendency to create a stricter attention to self- 
good and private interest, and must insensibly diminish 
the affection towards public good, or the interest of society, 
and introduce a certain narrowness of spirit, which is 
observable in the devout persons and zealots of almost 
every religious persuasion." || 

This objection, the reader will recollect, is in direct 
contradiction to the principles of Bolingbroke, and, it may 
be added, of Volney, and other deistical writers, who 
maintain self-love to be the origin of virtuous affection. 
Some Christian writers, in answering it, have given up the 
doctrine of disinterested love, allowing that all religious 
affection is to be traced to the love which we bear to our 
selves, as its first principle. To me, this appears no other 
than betraying the truth, and ranking Christianity with 
every species of apostacy and false religion which have at 
any time prevailed in the world. A clear idea of the 
nature of self-love, if I mistake not, will enable us to 
determine this question, and to answer the deistical objec 
tion without rendering Christianity a mercenary system. 

Every man may be considered either singly or con 
nectedly ; either as a being by himself, or as a link in a 
certain chain of beings. Under one or other of these 
views every man considers himself, while pursuing his own 

t Philosophical Essays, p. 231. $ Characteristics, Vol. I. p. 18* 
|| Characteristics, Vol. II. p. 58. 



MOTIVES TO A VIRTUOUS LIFE. 



13 



interest. If the former, this is to make himself the ulti 
mate end of his actions, and to love all other beings, 
created or uncreated, only as they subserve his interest or 
his pleasure : this is private self-love : this is mean and 
mercenary, and what we commonly understand by the 
term selfishness. But if the latter, there is nothing mean 
or selfish in it. He who seeks his own well-being in con 
nexion with the general good seeks it as he ought to do. 
No man is required directly to oppose his own welfare, 
though, in some instances, he may be required to sacrifice 
it for the general good. Neither is it necessary that he 
should be indifferent towards it. Reason, as well as 
Scripture, requires us to love ourselves as we love our 
neighbour. To this may be added, every man is not only 
a link in the chain of intelligent beings, and so deserving 
of some regard from himself, as well as from others, but 
every man's person, family, and connexions, and still more 
the concerns of his soul, are, as it were, his own vineyard, 
over the interests of which it is his peculiar province to 
exercise a watchful care. Only let the care of himself 
and his immediate connexions be in subserviency to the 
general good, and there is nothing mercenary in it. 

I need not multiply arguments to prove that the doctrine 
of reicards does not necessarily tend to encourage a merce 
nary spirit, or that it is consistent with the disinterested 
love of virtue. Lord Shaftesbury himself has acknow 
ledged this : " If by the hope of reward," he says, " be 
understood the love and desire of virtuous enjoyment, or 
of the very practice or exercise of virtue in another life, 
the expectation or hope of this kind is so far from being 
derogatory to virtue, that it is an evidence of our loving it 
the more sincerely, and for its own sake."* This single 
concession contains an answer to all that his lordship has 
advanced on the subject ; for the rewards promised in the 
gospel are all exactly of the description which he mentions. 
It is true they are often represented under the images of 
earthly things ; but this does not prove that, in themselves, 
they are not pure and spiritual. That there is nothing in 
them adapted to gratify a mercenary spirit, the following 
observations will render plain to the meanest capacity : 

First, The nature of heavenly enjoyments is such as to 
admit of no monopoly, and consequently to leave no room 
for the exercise of private self-love. Like the beams of the 
sun, they are equally adapted to give joy to a world as to 
an individual ; nay, so far is an increase in the number of 
the participants from diminishing the quantum of happi 
ness possessed by each individual, that it has a tendency 
to increase it. The interest of one is the interest of all, 
and the interest of all extends to every one. 

Secondly, The sum of heavenly enjoyments consists in 
a holy likeness to God, and in the eternal enjoyment of 
his favour.f But holy likeness to God is the same thing 
as " the very practice or exercise of virtue," the hope of 
which, Lord Shaftesbury acknowledges, " is so far from 
being derogatory to it, that it is an evidence of our loving 
it the more sincerely, and for its own rake." And as to 
the enjoyment of the Divine favour, a proper pursuit of 
this object, instead of being at variance with disinterested 
affection, clearly implies it ; for no man can truly desire 
the favour of God as his chief good, without a proportion 
ate esteem of his character, and that for its own excellency. 
It is impossible that the favour of any being whose cha 
racter we disapprove should be sought as our chief good, 
in preference to every other object in the universe. But 
a cordial approbation of the Divine character is the same 
thing as a disinterested affection to virtue. 

Thirdly, The only method by which the rewards of the 
gospel are attainable, faith in Christ, secures the exercise 
of disinterested and enlarged virtue. No man has any 
warrant, from the Scriptures, to expect an interest in the 
promises of the gospel, unless he cordially acquiesce in his 
mediation. But to acquiesce in this is to acquiesce in the 
holy government of God, which it was designed to glorify 
to feel and acknowledge that we deserved to have been 
m:\di> sacrifices to Divine displeasure to forego all claim 
or hope of mercy from every selfish consideration ; and be 
willing to receive forgiveness as an act of mere grace, and 
along with the chief of sinners. In fine, to acquiesce in 

Characteristic*, Vol. 1 1. pp. 65. 66. + 1 John Hi. 2 ; Bev. vu. 3. 4. 



this is to be of one heart with the Saviour of sinners, which, 
our adversaries themselves being judges, is the same thing 
as to be filled with devotedness to God and benevolence 
to men ; and this, if any thing deserves that name, is true, 
disinterested, and enlarged virtue. 

It is very possible that the objections which are made 
by this writer, as well as by Mr. Paine and others, against 
the doctrine of rewards, as being servile and mercenary, 
may, after all, in reality be against their counterpart. It 
does not appear to be " the hope of happiness beyond this 
life" that excites their disgust, though the nature of the 
Christian's happiness might be disagreeable to them ; but 
the fear of being " called to account for the manner in 
which they have lived in this world." This it is which 
even the daring author of The Age of Reason cannot en 
dure to consider as a certainty, as the thought of it would 
render him " the slave of terror." Yet, as though he 
would not have it thought that the dread of futurity ren 
dered him afraid of believing it, he alleges another reason : 
" Our belief, on this principle," he says, " would have no 
merit, and our best actions no virtue." J In order then to 
our actions being virtuous, it is necessary, it seems, that 
we be under no law but that of our own inclination ; and 
this will be loving virtues/or its own take. This is at once 
shaking off the Divine authority ; which, if it could be ac 
complished, might be very agreeable to some men ; and if 
with this they could get fairly rid of a judgment to come, 
it might be still more agreeable ; but, alas, if they should 
be mistaken ! 

It is a fact that the passions of hope and fear are planted 
in our nature by Him who made us ; and it may be pre 
sumed they are not planted there in vain. , The proper 
exercise of the former has, I conceive, been proved to be 
consistent with the purest and most disinterested love ; 
and the same thing is provable of the latter. The hope 
and fear against which these writers declaim are those of 
a slave ; and where love is absent, these, it is granted, are 
the only effects which the doctrine of rewards and punish 
ments will produce. But even here they have their use. 
Terror is the grand principle by which vicious minds are 
kept in awe. Without this their licentiousness would be 
intolerable to society. It is not, however, for the mere 
purpose of restraint that threatenings are exhibited, but 
to express the displeasure of God against all unrighteous 
ness and ungodliness of men, and his resolution to punish 
them. Some are hereby taught the evil of their ways to a 
good purpose, and all are fairly warned, and their perse 
verance in sin is rendered inexcusable. 

Before our adversaries object to this, they should show 
the impropriety of human laws being accompanied with 
penalties. Let them furnish us with a system of govern 
ment in which men may be guilty of crimes without fear 
of being called to account for them, and in which those 
who are enemies to virtue are to be governed by merely 
the love of it. If it be improper to threaten sinners, it is 
improper to punish them ; and if it be improper to punish 
them, it is improper for moral government to be exercised. 
But if it be thus in the government of God, there is no 
good reason to be given why it should not be the same in 
human governments ; that is, there is no good reason why 
servants, unless they choose to do otherwise, should not 
disobey their masters, children their parents, and private 
individuals in a state be continually rising up to destroy 
all just authority. 

The above may suffice to ascertain the weight of Lord 
Shaftesbury's objections to the doctrine of rewards ; and 
now I shall take the liberty to retort the charge, and at 
tempt to prove that the epithets " narrow and selfish," 
which he applies to the Christian system, properly belong 
to his own. 

In his " Inquiry concerning Virtue," contained in the 
second volume of his " Characteristics," though he allows 
it to consist in our being proportionably affected towards 
the whole system to which we bear a relation, (p. 17,) and 
acknowledges that this world may be only a part of a more 
extended system, (p. 20,) yet he studiously leaves out God 
as the head of it. Among all the relations which he enu 
merates, there is no mention of that between the creature 

} Atr* of Beaton, Part II. pp. 100, 101. 



14 



CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS. 



and the Creator. His enlarged and disinterested scheme 
of morality is at last nothing more than for a creature to 
regard those " of its own kind or species." Not only is 
all gentleness, kindness, and compassion to inferior crea 
tures left out, but the love of God is not in it. On the 
contrary, it is the professed object of his " Inquiry" to 
prove that virtue, goodness, or moral excellence, may ex 
ist without religion, and even " in an atheist" (p. 6). In 
short, it is manifest that it is the love of God, and not self- 
love, to which his love of virtue, for its own sake, stands 
opposed. That for which he pleads is the impious spirit 
of a child who, disregarding his father's favour, pays no 
attention to his commands a* his commands ; but complies 
with them only on account of their approving themselves 
to his own mind. But this is no other than self-will, 
which, instead of being opposed to self-love, is one of its 
genuine exercises. 

" Our holy religion," says this sneering writer, " takes 
but little notice of the most heroic virtues, such as zeal for 
the public and our country." * That Christianity takes 
but little notice of what is commonly called patriotism is 
admitted ; and if Lord Shaftesbury had been free from 
that "narrowness of mind" which it is his intention here 
to censure ; yea, if he had only kept to his own definition 
of virtue " a regard to those of our own kind or species ;" 
he would have taken as little. By the public good, he 
evidently means no more than the temporal prosperity of 
a particular country, which is to be sought at the expense 
of all other countries with whom it happens, justly or un 
justly, to be at variance. Christianity, we acknowledge, 
knows nothing of this spirit. It is superior to it. It is not 
natural for a Christian to enter into the antipathies, or em 
broil himself in the contentions of a nation, however he 
may be occasionally drawn into them. His soul is much 
more in its element when breathing after the present and 
future happiness of a world. In undertakings, both public 
and private, which tend to alleviate the miseries and en 
large the comforts of human life, Christians have ever been 
foremost ; and when they have conceived themselves law 
fully called, even into the field of battle, they have not been 
wanting in valour. But the heroism to which they prin 
cipally aspire is of another kind ; it is that of subduing 
their own spirit, doing good against evil, seeking the pre 
sent and eternal well-being of those who hate them, and 
laying down their lives, if required, for the name of the 
Lord Jesus. 

Such is the "narrow spirit" of Christians ; and such 
have been their " selfish pursuits." But these are things 
which do not emblazon their names in the account of un 
believers. The murderers of mankind will be applauded 
before them. But they have enough ; their blood is pre 
cious in the sight of the Lord, and their names are em 
balmed in the memory of the upright. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO REJECT THE GOSPEL WILL NOT 
BEAR A COMPARISON WITH THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO 
EMBRACE IT. 

No books are so plain as the lives of men, no cnaracters so 
legible as their moral conduct. If the principles of a body 
of men will not bear this criterion, we may expect to hear 
them exclaim against it as unfair and uncertain ; but when 
they have said all, they will endeavour to avail themselves 
of it, if possible. It is thus that the virtues of idolaters 
are the constant theme of deistical panegyric ; and all the 
corruptions, intrigues, persecutions, wars, and mischiefs, 
which of late ages have afflicted the earth, are charged to 
the account of Christians. It is thus that Christian minis 
ters, under the name of priests, are described as mercenary, 

* Characteristics, Vol. I. pp. 98. 99. 

t Hume's Essays Moral and Political, Essay XXIV. 

n e f .?? ason ,. Part I. p. 21. } Ignorant Philosopher, p. 60. 

|| Enchiridion, Cap. 38. p. m. 56. IT Diog Lai-rtius 



designing, and hypocritical ; and the lives of hectoring pro 
fligates praised in comparison of them.-f- In short, it is 
thus that Christians are accused of fanaticism, affectation, 
ingratitude, presumption, and almost every thing else that 
is mean and base ; and men are persuaded to become 
deists, with an assurance that, by so doing, they will live 
more consistently and morally than by any other system. J 

But let us examine whether these representations accord 
with fact. Is it fact that the ancient philosophers of 
Greece and Rome were virtuous characters "? It is true 
that, like the deists, they talked and wrote much about 
virtue ; and if the latter may be believed, they were very 
virtuous. " They opposed each other," says Voltaire, " in 
their dogmas ; but in morality they were all agreed." 
After loading each of them with encomiums, he sums up 
by affirming, " There has been no philosopher in all an 
tiquity who has not been desirous of making men better."^ 
This is a very favourable report ; and, if well founded, the 
writer of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans 
must not only have dealt largely in calumny, but must 
have possessed the most consummate effrontery, to address 
such an Epistle to the citizens of Rome, who from their own 
knowledge must have been able to contradict him. There 
are other reports, however, of a very different complexion. 

It is no part of my design to enter minutely into this 
subject ; nor is it necessary. Many able writers have 
proved, from the most authentic sources of information, 
that the account given of the heathens by the apostle is not 
exaggerated. An extract or two from their writings will 
be sufficient for my purpose. 

" Epictetus bids you ' temporize, and worship the gods 
after the fashion of your country.' || Pythagoras forbids 
you to ' pray to God, because you know not what is conve 
nient. 'U Plutarch commends Cato Uticensis for killing 
himself amidst philosophic thoughts, with resolution and 
deliberation, after reading Plato on the immortality of the 
soul.** Cicero pleads for self-murder. Herein he was 
seconded by Brutus, Cassius, and others who practised it. 
Many of their learned men applauded their opinion and 
practice. Seneca thus pleads for it : 'If thy mind be 
melancholy and in misery, thou mayst put a period to 
this wretched condition : wherever thou lookest, there is 
an end to it. See that precipice ! there thou mayst have 
liberty. Seest thou that sea, that river, that well '? liberty 
is at the bottom of it : that little tree 1 freedom hangs 
upon it. Thy own neck, thy own throat, may be a refuge 
to thee from such servitude ; yea, every vein of thy body. 'ft 

" We may find in the heathen philosophers customary 
swearing commended, if not by their precepts, yet by the 
examples of their best moralists, Plato, Socrates, Seneca, 
and Julian the emperor ; in whose works numerous oaths 
by Jupiter, Hercules, the Sun, Serapis, and the like, do 
occur. In the same manner we see the unnatural love of 
boys recommended. JJ Aristippus maintained that it was 
' lawful for a wise man to steal, commit adultery, and sa 
crilege, when opportunity offered ; for that none of these 
actions were naturally evil, setting aside the vulgar opinion, 
which was introduced into the world by silly and illiterate 
people, that a wise man might publicly, without shame or 
scandal, keep company with common harlots, if his inclina 
tions led him to it." May not a beautiful woman be 
made use of,' he asks, ' because she is fair, or a youth be 
cause he is lovely 1 Certainly they may.' "$ 

If, as Voltaire asserts, it was the desire of these philoso 
phers to make men better, assuredly they employed very 
extraordinary means to accomplish their desire. 

What are the lives recorded by Plutarch t Many of 
them, no doubt, entertained a high sense of honour, and 
possessed a large portion of patriotism. But was either of 
these morality 1 If by this term be meant such dispositions 
of the mind as are right, fit, and amiable, it was not. Their 
sense of honour was not of that kind which made them 
scorn to do evil ; but, like the false honour of modern 
duellists, consisted merely in a dread of disgrace. It in 
duced many of them to carry about them the fatal means 
of self-destruction ; and, rather than fall into the hands of 

Plutarch's Life of Cato, near the end. 

H- De Ira, Lib. iii. Cap. 15. p. m. 319. Juvenal Satir. II. ver. 10. 
{} Diog. LaErtius, Vol. I. p. m. 165, 166. See in Millar's History of 
the Propagation of Christianity, Vol. I. p. 63 65. 



CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS. 



an adversary, to make use of them. And as to their pa 
triotism, generally speaking, it operated not merely in the 
preservation of their country, but in endeavours to extend 
and aggrandize it at the expense of other nations. It \\:i< 
a patriotism inconsistent with justice and good will to men. 
Add to this, that fornication, adultery, and unnatural 
crimes were common among them. 

As to the moral state of society among heathens, both 
ancient and modern, we may have occasion to consider 
this a little more particularly hereafter. At present I would 
inquire, Is it fact that the persecutions, intrigues, wars, and 
mischiefs of late ages are to be charged to the account of 
Christianity 1 

With regard to persecution, nothing is more common 
with our adversaries than to lay it wholly at our door. 
They are continually alleging that the heathens all agreed 
to tolerate each other till Christianity arose. Thus writes 
Sh;it'tesbury,* Hume.f Voltaire,J Gibbon, and Paine. || 
That the heathen tolerated each other before the introduc 
tion of Christianity is allowed ; and they did the same 
after it. It was not against each other that their enmity 
was directed. In the diversity of their idols and modes of 
worship there were indeed different administrations, but 
it was the tame lord ; whereas, in the religion of Jesus 
Christ, there was nothing that could associate with heathen 
ism, but ever}' thing that threatened its utter subversion. 

It is allowed also that individual persecution, except in 
a few instances, commenced with Christianity : but who 
began the practice t Was it Jesus that persecuted Herod 
and Pontius Pilate ; or they him 1 Did Peter, and James, 
and John, and Paul set up for inquisitors, and persecute 
the Jews and Romans ; or the Jews and Romans them ! 
Did the primitive Christians discover any disposition to 
persecute t By whom was Europe deluged with blood in 
ten successive persecutions during the first three centuries t 
Were Christians the authors of this t When the church 
hod so far degenerated as to imbibe many of the principles 
and superstitions of the heathen, then indeed it began to 
imitate their persecuting spirit ; but not before. When 
Christ's kingdom was transformed into a kingdom of this 
world, the weapons of its warfare might be expected to 
become carnal, and to be no longer, as formerly, mighty 
through God. 

The religious persecutions among Christians have been 
compared to the massacres attending the French revolution 
in the times of Robespierre. The horrid barbarities of the 
latter, it has been said, by way of apology, " have not 
even been equal to those of the former." If deists may be 
allowed to confound Christianity aud popery, I shall not 
dispute the justness of the comparison. There is, no 
doubt, a great resemblance between the papal and the in 
fidel spirit ; or rather they are one. Both are the spirit of 
this world, which is averse from true religion. The differ 
ence between them is but as that between the wolf and 
the tiger.lT But those who reason thus should prove that 
the reformers in religion have been guilty of excesses equal 
to those of the deistical reformers in politics. Were there 
any such assassinations among the protestants towards one 
another, or towards the papists, as have been wantonly 
committed by infidels 1 It is true there were examples of 
persecution among protestants, and such as will ever re 
main a dishonour to the parties concerned ; but those 
which affected the lives of men were few in number com 
pared with those of the other, and these few, censurable as 
they are, were not performed by assassination. 

Mr. Paine affirms that ' all sects of Christians, except 
the Quakers, have persecuted in their turn." That much 
of this spirit has prevailed is too true ; but this assertion 
is unfounded. I could name more denominations than 
one whose hands, I believe, were never stained with 
blood, and whose avowed principles have always been in 
favour of universal liberty of conscience. 

But let us inquire into the principles and spirit of our 
adversaries on this subject. It is true that almost all their 
writers have defended the cause of liberty, and levelled 

Characteristic*. VoL L p. 18. + EMy on Parties. 

{ Ignorant Philosopher, p. 83. 

\ History of Dec. Chap. II. p. 89. 

1 Are of Beaton, Part II. Preface. 

<( Tht resemblance between popery and infidelity is pointed out with 



their censures against persecution. But where is the man 
that is not an enemy to this practice, when it N dm -. -t. -.1 
against himself t Have they diM-<iM>red a proper regard to 
the rights of conscience anionir Christians This i> the 
question. There may be individuals among them who 
have ; but the generality of their writers discover a shame 
ful partiality in favour of their own side, and a contemptu 
ous disregard of all who have suffered for the name o! 
Christ. While they exhibit persecution in its deservedly 
infamous colours, they as constantly hold up the perse 
cuted, if found among Christians, in a disadvantageous 
point of view. Mr. Hume allows that " the persecutions 
of Christians in the early ages were cruel," but lays the 
blame chiefly on themselves ;** and all through his History 
of England lie palliates the conduct of the persecutors, and 
represents the persecuted in an unfavourable light. The 
same may be said of Gibbon, in his History of the Decline 
of the Roman Empire ; of Shaftesbury, in his Character 
istics ; and indeed of the generality of deistical writers. 
Voltaire, boasting of the wisdom and moderation of the 
ancient Romans, says, " They never persecuted a single 
philosopher for his opinions, from the time of Romulus, 
till the popes got possession of their power."ft But did 
they not persecute Christians t The millions of lives that 
fell a sacrifice in the first three centuries after the Chris 
tian era are considered as nothing by Voltaire. The be 
nevolence of this apostle of deism feels not for men if they 
happen to be believers in Christ. If an Aristotle, a Py 
thagoras, or a Galileo suffer for his opinions, he is a " mar 
tyr ;" but if a million of French protestants, " from a 
desire to bring back things to the primitive institutes of 
the church," endure the most cruel treatment, or quit 
their country to escape it, they, according to this writer, 
are " weak and obstinate men." Say, reader, are these 
men friends to religious liberty t To what does all their 
declamation against persecution amount but this that 
such of them as reside in Christianized countries wish to 
enjoy their opinions without being exposed to it '. 

Till of late deists have been in the minority in all the 
nations of Europe, and have therefore felt the necessity of 
a free enjoyment of opinion. It is not what they have 
pleaded under those circumstances, but their conduct when 
in power, that must prove them friends to religious liberty. 
Few men are known to be what they are till they are 
tried. They and protestant dissenters have, in some re 
spects, been in a similar situation. Of late, each in a dif 
ferent country have become the majority, and the civil 
power has been intrusted in their hands. The descend 
ants of the puritans in the western world, by dispensing 
the blessings of liberty even to Episcopalians, by whoso 
persecutions their ancestors were driven from their native 
shores, have shown themselves worthy of the trust. But 
have the deists acted thus in France and other counti ijs 
which have fallen into their hands 1 It is true we believe 
them to have been the instruments, in the hand of God, of 
destroying the papal antichrist ; and in this view we re 
joice : howbeit they meant not so. If we judge of their 
proceedings towards the catholics in the ordinary way of 
judging of human actions, which undoubtedly we ought, I 
fear it will be found not only persecuting, but perfidious 
and bloody in the extreme. 

I am not without hope that liberty of conscience will be 
preserved in France ; and if it should, it will be seen 
whether the subversion of the national establishment will 
prove, what the advisers of that measure without doubt 
expected, and what others who abhorred it apprehended 
the extinction of Christianity. It may prove the reverse, 
and issue in things which will more than balance all the 
ills attending the revolution. These hopes, however, are 
not founded on an idea of the just or tolerant spirit of in 
fidelity ; but, so far as human motives are concerned, on 
that regard to consistency which is known to influence all 
mankind. If the leading men in France, after having so 
liberally declaimed against persecution, should ever enact 
laws in favour of it, or in violation of the laws encourage 

great beauty and energy in a piece which hat appeared in Rome of the 
periodical publications, entitled, " The Progress of the Moderns in 
Knowledge, Refinement, and Virtue." See Theological Magazine, Vol. 
I. No. V. p. 344 ; Evangelical Magazine, Vol. IV. p. 405. 
Essay on Parties in general. -U Ignorant Philosopher, pp. 83, 83. 



16 



CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS. 



it, they must appear in a most disgraceful light in the 
opinion of the whole civilized world. 

Not only persecution, but unjust wars, intrigues, and 
other mischiefs, are placed to the account of Christianity. 
That such things have existed, and that men who are called 
Christians have been deeply concerned in them, is true. 
Wicked men will act wickedly by whatever name they 
are called. "Whether these things be fairly attributable to 
the Christian religion, may be determined by a few plain 
inquiries. 

First, Did these evils commence with Christianity, or 
have they increased under its influence 1 Has not the 
world, in every age with which history acquaints us, been 
a scene of corruption, intrigue, tumult, and slaughter 1 All 
that can plausibly be objected to Christianity is, that these 
things have continued in the world notwithstanding its 
influence ; and that they have been practised in as great 
a degree by men calling themselves Christians as by any 
other persons. 

Secondly, Are those who ordinarily engage in these 
practices real Christians, and do our adversaries themselves 
account them so ? They can distinguish, when they please, 
between sincere and merely nominal Christians. They 
need not be told that great numbers, in every nation, are 
of that religion which happens to prevail at the time ; or, 
rather, that they are of no religion. 

Thirdly, Have not the courts of princes, notwithstand 
ing Christianity may have been the professed religion of 
the land, been generally attended by a far greater propor 
tion of deists than of serious Christians ; and have not 
public measures been directed by the counsels of the 
former much more than by those of the latter 1 It is well 
known that great numbers among the nobility and gentry 
of every nation consider religion as suited only to vulgar 
minds ; and therefore either wholly absent themselves from 
worship, or attend but seldom, and then only to save ap 
pearances towards a national establishment, by which 
provision is made for the younger branches of their fami 
lies. In other words, they are unbelievers. This is the 
description of men by whom public affairs are commonly 
managed, and to whom the good or the evil pertaining to 
them, so far as human agency is concerned, is to be at 
tributed. 

Finally, Great as have been the evils abounding in 
nations professing Christianity, (and great they have been, 
and ought greatly to be deplored,) can unbelievers pretend 
to have given us any hope, at present, of the state of things 
being meliorated ! It is true they have talked and written 
much in this way, and many well-wishers to the human 
race have been disposed to give them credit. But it is 
not words that will prove any thing. Have they done any 
thing that justifies a hope of reformation! No; they 
themselves must first be reformed ; or rather, to use an 
appropriate term of their own, regmerated. Far be it 
from me that, in such a cause as this, I should write under 
the influence of national prejudice, or side with the ene 
mies of civil and religious freedom ; but I must say there 
never was a representation more necessary than that which 
was given in an Address from the Executive Directory of 
France to the Council of Five Hundred, about the be 
ginning of the year 1796. In this address they " request 
the most earnest attention of the Council towards adopting 
some measure for the regeneration of the public morals." 
This is the regeneration wanted, and which, having rejected 
Christianity, they may be ever seeking, but will never be 
able to obtain. They may continue to revolutionize as 
long as a party shall be found that wishes for an increase 
of power, and perceives an opportunity of gaining it ; and 
every party in its turn may talk of " saving liberty :" but 
never will they be free indeed until they are emancipated 
in some good degree from the dominion of vice ; and never 
will this be effected but by a knowledge of evangelical 
truth. 

The friends of legitimate liberty have deeply to regret 
that, under that revered name, has been perpetrated almost 
every species of atrocity ; and that not only towards in 
dividuals, but nations, and nations the most peaceable and 
inoffensive, whose only crime was that of being unable to 
resist. Liberty has suffered more from the hands of in 
fidels,- amidst all their successes and declamations, than 



from its professed enemies ; and still it bleeds beneath 
their wounds. Without entering into political disputes, 
I may safely affirm that, if ever the nations of the earth 
be blessed with equal liberty, it will be by the prevalence, 
not of the pretended illuminations of infidel philosophy, 
but of that doctrine which teaches us " to do unto others 
as we would that others should do unto us." 

Finally, Mr. Paine affirms that men, by becoming 
deists, would " live more consistently and morally than by 
any other system." As to living more consistently, it is 
possible there may be some truth in it ; for the best Chris 
tians, it must be allowed, have many imperfections, which 
are but so many inconsistencies ; whereas, by complying 
with this advice, they would be uniformly wicked. And 
as to their living more morally, if Mr. Paine could coin a 
new system of morals, from which the love of God should 
be excluded, and intemperance, incontinency, pride, pro 
fane swearing, cursing, lying, and hypocrisy exalted to the 
rank of virtues, he might very probably make good his 
assertion. 

Mr. Paine professes to " detest the Bible on account of 
its obscene stories, voluptuous debaucheries, cruel execu 
tions, and unrelenting vindictiveness." * That the Bible 
relates such things is true ; and every impartial history of 
mankind must do the same. The question is, whether 
they be so related as to leave a favourable impression of 
them upon the mind of a serious reader. If so, and if 
the Bible be that immoral book which Mr. Paine repre 
sents it to be, how is it that the reading of it should have 
reclaimed millions from immorality 1 Whether he will 
acknowledge this, or not, it is a fact too notorious to be 
denied by impartial observers. Every man residing in a 
Christian country will acknowledge, unless he have an end 
to answer in saying otherwise, that those people who read 
the Bible, believe its doctrines, and endeavour to form 
their lives by its precepts, are the most sober, upright, and 
useful members of the community : and, on the other 
hand, that those who discredit the Bible, and renounce it 
as the rule of their lives, are, generally speaking, addicted 
to the grossest vices ; such as profane swearing, lying, 
drunkenness, and lewdness. It is very singular, I repeat 
it, that men, by regarding an immoral book, should learn 
to practise morality ; and that others, by disregarding it, 
should learn the contrary. 

How is it that, in countries where Christianity has made 
progress, men have almost universally agreed in reckoning 
a true Christian, and an amiable, open, modest, chaste, 
conscientious, and benevolent character, as the same thing 1 
How is it, also, that to say of a man, He rejects the Bible, 
is nearly the same thing, in the account of people in 
general, as to say, He is a man of a dissolute life 1 If there 
were not a general connexion between these things, public 
opinion would not so generally associate them. Indi 
viduals, and even parties, may be governed by prejudice ; 
but public opinion of character is seldom far from truth. 
Besides, the prejudices of merely nominal Christians, so 
far as my observation extends, are as strong against those 
Christians who are distinguished by their devout and 
serious regard to the Scriptures as against professed infidels, 
if not stronger. How is it then to be accounted for, that, 
although they will call them fanatics, enthusiasts, and 
other unpleasant names, yet it is very rare that they reckon 
them immoral t If, as is sometimes the case, they accuse 
them of unworthy motives, and insinuate that in secret 
they are as wicked as others, either such insinuations are 
not seriously believed, or if they be, the party is con 
sidered as insincere in his profession. No man thinks that 
genuine Christianity consists with a wicked life, open or 
secret. But the ideas of infidelity and immorality are 
associated in the public mind ; and the association is clear 
and strong ; so much so, as to become a ground of action. 
Whom do men ordinarily choose for umpires, trustees, 
guardians, and the like 1 Doubtless they endeavour to 
select persons of intelligence : but if to this be added 
Christian principle, is it not of weight in these cases t It 
is seldom known, I believe, but that a serious intelligent 
Christian, whose situation in the world renders him con 
versant with its concerns, will have his hands full of em- 

Age of Reason, Part I. p. 12. 



CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS. 



ployment. Ask. hankers, merchants, tradesmen, and others 
who are frequently looking out for persons of probity t 
occupy situations of trust, in whose hands they woul 
choose to confide their property? They might object, a 
with good reason, to persons whose religion rendered then 
pert, conceited, and idle; but would they not prefer on 
who really makes the Bible the rule of his life to one whi 
profess. illy rejects it t The common practice in these case 
affords a sufficient answer. 

How is it that the principles and reasonings of infidels 
though frequently accompanied with great natural and ac 
quired abilities, are seldom known to make any impression 
on sober people ! Is it not because the men and their 
communications arc known 1 How is it that so much is 
made of the falls of Noah, Lot, David, Jonah, Peter, am 
others t The same things in heathen philosophers, or 
modern unbelievers, would be passed over without notice 
All the declamations of our adversaries on these subjects 
plainly prove that such instances with us are more singular 
than with them. With us they are occasional, and afforc 
matter for deep repentance ; with them they are habitual, 
and furnish employment in the work of palliation. The 
on the garments of a child attract attention ; but the 
filthy condition of the animal that wallows in the mire is 

_ irded, as being a thing of course. 

The morality, such as it is, which is found among deists, 
amounts to nothing more than a little exterior decorum. 
riminality of intention is expressly disowned.f The 
great body of these writers pretend to no higher motives 
than a regard to their safety, interest, or reputation. Ac 
tions proceeding from these principles must not only be 
destitute of virtue, but wretchedly defective as to their in 
fluence on the well-being of society. If the heart be to 
wards God, a sober, righteous, and godly life becomes a 
matter of choice ; but that which is performed, not for its 
" u sake, but from fear, interest, or ambition, will extend 
no farther than the eye of man can follow it. In domestic 
life it will be but little regarded, and in retirement not at 
all. Such, in fact, is the character of infidels. " Will you 
dare to assert," says Linguet, a French writer, in an ad 
dress to Voltaire, " that it is in philosophic families we are 
to look for models of filial respect, conjugal love, sincerity 
in friendship, or fidelity among domestics t Were you 
disposed to do so, would not your own conscience, your 
own experience, suppress the falsehood, even before your 

uld utter it!" J 

" A\ herever society is established, there it is necessary to 
have religion ; for religion, which watches over the crimes 
that are secret, is, in feet, the only law which a man car 
ries about with him ; the only one which places the punish 
ment at the side of the guilt, and whicli operates as forcibly 
in solitude and darkness as in the broad and open face of 
Would the reader have thought it t These are the 
words of Voltaire.} 

Nothing is more common than for deistical writers to 

lev. 1 their artillery against the Christian ministry. Under 

the appellation of priests, they seem to think themselves at 

*rty to load them with every species of abuse. That 

then- are great numbers of worldly men who have engaged 

i the Christian ministry, as other worldly men engage in 

sr employments, for the sake of profit, is true ; and 

re this is the case, it may be expected that hunting, 

raming, and such kinds of amusements, will be their fa- 

ite pursuits, while religious exercises will be performed 

a piece of necessary drudgery. Where this is the case, 

heir devotion must be feigned, and their seriousness 

hypocrisy and grimace." But that this should be 

esented as a general case, and that the ministry itself 

I be reproached on account of the hypocrisy of 

Idly men, who intrude themselves into it, can only be 



* *Si ".I* ^ ntlem n late 'y deceased, who was eminent in the 
rid, that in early life he drank deeply into the free-thinking 
id one of Ins companions, of the same turn of mind, 
I on their conversations in the hearing of a religious but 
nuntryman. Tliis gentleman, afterwards becoming a serious 
concerned for the countryman, lest his faith in the 
in Klinon should have been shaken. One day he took the 
o Mk turn, \\ hcther what had so frequently been advanced in 
annjr had not produced this effect upon him f " By no mean*." 
.red the countryman, " it never made the least impression upon 
->o impression upon you ! " said the gentleman, " why. you 






17 

owing to malignity. Let the fullest subtraction be made 
of characters of the above description, and I appeal to im 
partial observation whether there will not still remain in 
only this particular order of Christians, and at almost any 
period, a greater number of serious, upright, disinterested 
and benevolent persons, than could be found among the 
whole body of deists in a succession of centuries. 

It is worthy of notice that Mr. Hume, in attempting to 
plunge Christian ministers into the mire of reproach, is 
obliged to descend himself, and to drag all mankind with 
him, into the same situation. He represents ministers as 
" drawn from the common mass of mankind, as people are 
to other employments, by the views of profit ;" and sug 
gests that " therefore they are obliged, on many occasions, 
to feign more devotion than they possess," which is friendly 
to hypocrisy.|| The leading motive of all public officers, 
it seems, is to aggrandize themselves. If Mr. Hume had 
accepted of a station under government, we can be at no 
loss, therefore, in judging what would have been his pre 
dominant principle. How weak, as well as wicked, must 
that man have been, who, in order to wound the reputa 
tion of one description of men, could point his arrows 
against the integrity of all ! But the world must forgive 
him. He had no ill design against them*, any more than 
against himself. It was for the purpose of destroying 
these Philistines, that he aimed to demolish the temple of 
human virtue. 

Nor is his antipathy, or that of his brethren, at all to be 
wondered at. These are the men who, in every age, have 
exposed the sophistry of deists, and vindicated Christianity 
from their malicious aspersions. It is reasonable to sup 
pose, therefore, that they will always be considered as their 
natural enemies. It is no more a matter of surprise that 
they should be the objects of their invective, than that the 
weapons of nightly depredators should be pointed against 
the watchmen, whose business it is to detect them, and 
expose their nefarious practices. 

After all, Mr. Hume pretends to respect " clergymen, 
who are set apart by the laws to the care of sacred mat 
ters ; " and wishes to be understood as directing his censures 
only against priests, or those who pretend to power and 
dominion, and to a superior sanctity of character, distinct 
from virtue and good morals.H It should seem, then, that 
they are dissenting ministers only that incur Mr. Hume's 
displeasure : but if, as he represents them, they be " drawn 
to their employment by the views of profit," they certainly 
cannot possess the common understanding of men, since 
they could scarcely pursue an occupation less likely to ac 
complish their design. The truth is, Mr. Hume did not 
mean to censure dissenting ministers only ; nor did he feel 
any respect for clergymen set apart by the laws. Those 
whom he meant to spare were such clergymen as were men 
after his own heart ; and the objects of his dislike were 
truly evangelical ministers, whether churchmen or dissent 
ers, who were not satisfied with hit kind of morality, but 
vere men of holy lives, and consequently were respected 
>y the people. These are the men against whom the en 
mity of deists has ever been directed. As to other priests, 
they have no other difference with them than that of 
rivalship, wishing to possess their wealth and influence, 
which the others are not always the most willing to relin- 
[uish. In professing, however, to " respect" such clergy 
men, Mr. Hume only means to flatter them, and draw them 
on to a little nearer alliance with his views. Respect is 
excited only by consistency of character, and is fre- 
[uently involuntary. A clergyman of loose morals may 
>e preferred, and his company courted, but respected he 
annot be. 

As to those ministers against whom Mr. Hume levels 
is artillery, and against whom the real enmity of his party 

lust know that we have rend and thought on these things much more 
tian you had any opportunity of doing." " O yes," said the other, 

but 1 knew also your manner of living : I knew that, to maintain 

ich a course of conduct, you found it neceitary to renounce Chris- 

anity." 

+ Volney's Law of Nature, p. 18. 

* Linspiet was ail admirer of Voltaire, but disapproved of his oppo- 
ftion to Christianity. See his Review of that author's Works p 264. 

} In Sullivan's Survey of Nature. 

jl Essay on National Character!, Note. 

fl Essays Moral and Political, Essay XII. pp. 107, 1(18, Note. 



IS 



CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS. 



lias always been directed, there is not a body of men in 
the world, of equal talents and industry, who receive less, 
if so little, for their labours. If those who have so liber 
ally accused them of interested motives gained no more by 
their exertions than the accused, they would not be so 
wealthy as many of them are. 

Compare the conduct of the leading men among deists 
with that of the body of serious Christian divines. Amidst 
their declamations against priestly hypocrisy, are they 
honest men 1 Where is their ingenuousness in continually 
confounding Christianity and popery ! , Have these work 
ers of iniquity no knowledge 1 "No," say some, "they 
do not understand the difference between genuine and 
corrupted Christianity. They have never had opportunity 
of viewing the religion of Jesus in its native dress. It is 
popish superstition against which their efforts are directed. 
Jf they understood Christianity, they would embrace it." 
Indeed ! And was this the case with Shaftesbury, Boling- 
broke, Hume, or Gibbon "? or is this the case with Paine 1 
No ; they have both seen and hated the light ; nor will 
they come to it, lest their deeds should be made manifest. 

It may be thought, however, that some excuse may be 
made for infidels residing in a popish country ; and this I 
shall not dispute as it respects the ignorant populace, who 
may be carried away by their leaders ; but as it respects 
the leaders themselves, it is otherwise. The National 
Assembly of France, when they wished to counteract the 
priests, and to reject the adoption of the Roman catholic 
faith as the established religion, could clearly distinguish 
between genuine and corrupted Christianity.* Deists can 
distinguish between Christianity and its abuses, when an 
end is to be answered by it ; and when an end is to be 
answered by it, they can, with equal facility, confound 
them. 

Herbert, Hobbes, Shaftesbury, Woolston, Tindal, Chubb, 
and Bolingbroke are all guilty of the vile hypocrisy of 
professing to love and reverence Christianity, while they 
are employed in no other design than to destroy it. Such 
faithless professions, such gross violations of truth, in 
Christians, would have been proclaimed to the universe, 
by these very writers, as infamous desertions of principle 
and decency. Is it less infamous in themselves 1 All hy 
pocrisy is detestable ; but I know of none so detestable as 
that which is coolly written, with full premeditation, by a 
man of talents, assuming the character of a moral and re 
ligious instructor. Truth is a virtue perfectly denned, 
mathematically clear, and completely understood by all 
men of common sense. There can be no haltings between 
uttering truth and falsehood ; no doubt, no mistakes, as 
between piety and enthusiasm, frugality and parsimony, 
generosity and profusion. Transgression, therefore, is 
always a known, definite, deliberate villany. In the sud 
den moment of strong temptation, in the hour of unguarded 
attack, in the flutter and trepidation of unexpected alarm, 
the best man may, perhaps, be surprised into any sin ; but 
he who can coolly, of steady design, and with no unusual 
impulse, utter falsehood, and vend hypocrisy, is not far 
from finished depravity. 

The morals of Rochester and Wharton need no com 
ment. Woolstoii was a gross blasphemer. Blount so 
licited his sister-in-law to marry him, and, being refused, 
shot himself. Tindal was originally a protestant, then 
turned papist, then protestant again, merely to suit the 
times ; and was at the same time infamous for vice in 
general, and the total want of principle. He is said to 
have died with this prayer in his mouth, " If there be a 
God, I desire that he may have mercy on me." Hobbes 
Avrote his Leviathan to serve the cause of Charles I., but, 
finding him fail of success, he turned it to the defence of 
Cromwell, and made a merit of this fact to the usurper, as 
Hobbes himself unblushingly declared to Lord Clarendon. 
Morgan had no regard to truth, as is evident from his nu 
merous falsifications of Scripture, as well as from the vile 
hypocrisy of professing himself a Christian in those very 
writings in which he labours to destroy Christianity. 
Voltaire, in a letter now remaining, requested his friend 

Mirabeau's Speeches, Vol. II. pp. 269 274. 

+ The last two pnra<rrapbs are taken from Dr. Dwisfht's excellent 
Discourses on " The Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy," pp. 
4o 47. 



D'Alembert to tell for him a direct and palpable lie, by 
denying that he was the author of the Philosophical Die- 
tioiiary. D'Alembert, in his answer, informed him that 
he had told the lie. Voltaire has, indeed, expressed his 
own moral character perfectly in the following words, 
" Monsieur Abbe, I must be read, no matter whether I 
am believed or not." He also solemnly professed to be 
lieve the catholic religion, although at the same time he 
doubted the existence of a God..- Hume died as a fool 
dieth. The day before his death he spent in a pitiful and 
affected unconcern about this tremendous subject, playing 
at whist, reading Lucian's Dialogues, and making silly 
attempts at wit, concerning his interview with Charon, 
the heathen ferryman of hades.f 

Collins, though he had no belief in Christianity, yet 
qualified himself for civil office by pas taking of the Lord's 
supper. Shaftesbury did the same ; and the same is done 
by hundreds of infidels to this day. Yet these are the 
men who are continually declaiming against the hypocrisy 
of priests ! Godwin is not only a lewd character, by his 
own confession ; but the unblushing advocate of lewdness. 
And as to Paine, he is well known to have been a pro 
fane swearer and a drunkard. We have evidence upon 
oath that " religion was his favourite topic when intoxi 
cated ;" J and, from the scurrility of the performance, it 
is not improbable that he was frequently in this situation 
while writing his " Age of Reason." 

I shall conclude this catalogue of worthies with a briel 
abstract of the " Confessions of J. J. Rousseau." After 
a good education in the protestant religion, he was put 
apprentice. Finding his situation disagreeable to him, he 
felt a strong propensity to vice inclining him to covet, 
dissemble, lie, and at length to steal a propensity of 
which he was never able afterwards to divest himself. " I 
have been a rogue," says he, " and am so still sometimes, 
for trifles which I had rather take than ask for." 

He abjured the protestant religion, and entered the 
hospital of the Catechumens at Turin, to be instructed in 
that of the catholics ; " for which in return," says he, " I 
was to receive subsistence. From this interested conver 
sion," he adds, " nothing remained but the remembrance 
of my having been both a dupe and an apostate. "|| 

After this he resided with a Madame de Warrens, with 
whom he " lived in the greatest possible familiarity." 
This lady often suggested that there would be no justice 
in the Supreme Being, should he be strictly just to us ; 
because, not having bestowed what was necessary to mab 
us essentially good, it would be requiring more than I 
had given. She was, nevertheless, a very good catholl 
or pretended at least to be one, and certainly desired t 
be such. If there had been no Christian morality estab 
lished, Rousseau supposes she would have lived as thou 
regulated by its principles. All her morality, howeve: 
was subordinate to the principles of M. Tavel (who 
seduced her from conjugal fidelity by urging, in effect, th 
exposure was the only crime) ; or rather, she saw nothi 
in religion that contradicted them. Rousseau was 
enough from being of this opinion ; yet he confessed 
dared not combat the arguments of the lady ; nor is 
supposable he could, as he appears to have been acting on 
the same principles at the time. " Finding in her," he 
adds, " all those ideas I had occasion for, to secure me 
from the fears of death and its future consequences, I drew 
confidence and security from this source." IT 

The writings of Port Royal, and those of the Oratory, 
made him half a Janseiiist ; and, notwithstanding all his 
confidence, their harsh theory sometimes alarmed him. A 
dread of hell, which, till then, he had never much appre 
hended, by little and little disturbed his security, and h; 
not Madame de Warrens tranquillized his soul, would 
length have been too much for him. His confessor also, 
Jesuit, contributed all in his power to keep up his hopes.* 

After this, he became familiar with another femal 
Theresa. He began by declaring to her that he wou 
never either abandon or marry her. Finding her pregna: 
with her first child, and hearing it observed, in an eating 

J See Trial of T. Paine at Guildhall, for a Libel, &c., p. 43. 
Confessions, London Ed. 1796, Vol. I. pp. 52. 55. 68. 



II Vol. 1. pp. 125, 126. 

11 Vol. II. pp. 88,89. 103106. 



Vol. II. p. 127. 






EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE STATE OF SOCIETY 



19 



house, that he who had best filled the Foundling Hospital 
teas always the most applauded, " I said to myself," ht> tells 

-ince it is the custom of the country, they who live 
here may adopt it. I cheerfully determined upon it with 
out the least scruple ; and the only one I had to overcome 

,;it of Theresa; whom, with the greatest imaginable 
difficulty, I persuaded to comply." The year following a 
similar inconvenience was remedied by the same expe 
dient ; no more reflection on his part, nor approbation on 

t' the mother. " She obliged with trembling. M\ 
fault," says he, " was great ; but it was an error." * 

He resolved on settling at Geneva ; and on going 
thither, and being mortified at his exclusion from the rights 
of a citizen by the profession of a religion different from 
his forefathers, he determined openly to return to the 
latter. " I thought," says he, " the gospel being the same 
for every Christian, and the only difference in religious 
opinions the result of -the explanations given by men to 
that which they did not understand, it was the exclusive 
right of the sovereign power in every country to fix the 
mode of worship, and these unintelligible opinions ; and 
that, consequently, it was the duty of a citizen to admit 
the one, and conform to the other, in the manner prescribed 
by the law." ^Accordingly, at Geneva, he renounced 
popery.f 

After passing twenty years with Theresa, he made her 
his wife. He appears to have intrigued with a Madame 

de H . Of nis desires after that lady, he says, "Guilty 

without remorse, I soon became so without measure." J 

Such, according to his own account, was the life of 
uprightness and honour which was to expiate for a theft 
which he had committed when a young man, and laid to a 
female sen-ant, by which she lost her place and character.} 
Such was Rousseau, the man whom the rulers of the 
French nation have delighted to honour ; and who, for 
writing this account, had the vanity and presumption to 
expect the applause of his Creator. " Whenever the last 
trumpet shall sound," says he, " I will present myself 
before the sovereign Judge, with this book in my hand, 
and loudly proclaim, Thus have I acted ; these were my 
thoughts ; such was I, Power eternal ! Assemble round 
thy throne the innumerable throng of my fellow mortals. 
Let them listen to my confessions ; let them blush at my 
depravity ; let them tremble at my sufferings ; let each in 
his turn expose, with equal sincerity, the failings, the 
wanderings of his heart ; and, if he dare, aver I was 
better than that man." || 



CHAPTER VI. 

CHRISTIANITY HAS NOT ONLY PRODUCED GOOD EFFECTS IN 
THOSE WHO CORDIALLY BELIEVE IT, BUT HAS GIVEN TO 
THE MORALS OF SOCIETY AT LARGE A TONE, WHICH 
DEISM, SO FAR AS IT OPERATES, GOES TO COUNTERACT. 

No man walks through life without a rule of some kind, 
by which his conduct is directed, and his inclinations 
restrained. They who fear not God are influenced by a 
regard to the opinions of men. To avoid the censure 
and gain the applause of the public, is the summit of their 
ambition. 

Public opinion has an influence, not only on the conduct 
of individuals in a community, but on the formation of 
its laws. Legislators will not only conform their systems 
to what the humours of the people will bear, but will 
kmselves incline to omit those virtues which are the most 
[grateful, and to spare those vices which are most agree 
able. 

Nor is this all : so great is the influence of public opinion, 
that it will direct the conduct of a community against its 
own laws. There arc obsolete statutes, as we all know, 
the breach of which cannot be punished : and even statutes 
which are not obsolete, where they operate against this 

Part H. Vol. I. pp. 123. 151, 155. 183. 187. 315. 
* Part II. Vol. I. pp. '.'63, 264. J Vol. I. pp. 311. 378. 



principle, have but little effect ; witness the connivance at 
the atrocious practice of duelling. 

Now if public opinion be so potent a principle, what 
ever has a prevailing influence in forming it must give a 
decided tone to what are considered as the month) of a 
nation. I say to what are considered as the morals of a 
nation ; for, strictly speaking, so much of the love of God 
and man as prevails in a nation, so much morality is there 
in it, and no more. But as we can judge of love only 
by its expressions, we call those actions moral, though it 
is possible their morality may only be counterfeit, by which 
the love cf God and man is ordinarily expressed. If we 
perform from some other motive those actions which are 
the ordinary expressions of love, our good deeds are thereby 
rendered evil in the sight of Him who views things as 
they are : nevertheless, what we do may be equally bene 
ficial to society as though we acted from the purest motive. 
In this indirect way Christianity has operated more than 
any thing that has been called by the name of religion, or 
by any other name, towards meliorating the state of man 
kind. 

It has been observed, and with great propriety, that, in 
order to know what religion has done for an individual, 
we must consider what he would have been without it. 
The same maybe said of a nation, or of the world. What 
would the nations of Europe have been at this time if it 
had not been for the introduction of Christianity! It 
cannot reasonably be pretended that they would have been 
in any better situation, as to morality, than that in which 
they were previously to this event ; for there is no instance 
of any people having, by their own efforts, emerged from 
idolatry and the immoralities which attend it. Now, as 
to what that state was, some notice has been taken already, 
so far as relates to the principles and lives of the old 
philosophers. To this I shall add a brief review of the 
state of society among them. 

Great praises are bestowed by Plutarch on the customs 
and manners of the Lacedemonians. Yet the same writer 
acknowledges that theft was encouraged in their children 
by a law, and that in order to " sharpen their wits to 
render them crafty and subtle, and to train them up in all 
sorts of wiles and cunning, watchfulness and circumspec 
tion, whereby they were more apt to serve them in their 
wars, which was upon the matter the whole profession of 
this commonwealth. And if at any time they were taken 
in the act of stealing, they were most certainly punished 
with rods, and the penance of fasting ; not because they 
esteemed the stealth criminal, but because they wanted 
skill and cunning in the management and conduct of it." II 
Hence, as might be expected, and as Herodotus observes, 
their actions were generally contrary to their words, and 
there was no dependence upon them in any matter. 

As to their chastity, there were common baths in which 
the men and women bathed together ; and it was ordered 
that the young maidens should appear naked in the public 
exercises, as well as the young men, and that they should 
dance naked with them at the solemn festivals and sacri 
fices. Husbands also were allowed to impart the use of 
their wives to handsome and deserving men, in order to 
the producing of healthy and vigorous children for the 
commonwealth. 

Children which were deformed, or of a bad constitution, 
were murdered. This inhuman custom was common all 
over Greece ; so much so that it was reckoned a singular 
thing, among the Thebans, that the law forbad any Thebaii 
to expose his infant, under pain of death. This practice, 
with that of procuring abortion, was encouraged by Plato 
and Aristotle. 

The unnatural love of boys was so common in Greece 
that in many places it was sanctioned by the public laws, 
of which Aristotle gives the reason ; namely, to prevent 
their having too many children. Maximus Tyrius cele 
brates it as a singularly heroic act of Agesilaus, that, being 
in love with a beautiful barbarian boy, he suffered it to go 
no further than looking at him and admiring him. Epic- 
tetus also praises Socrates in this manner : ' Go to 
Socrates, and see him lying by Alcibiades, yet slighting his 
youth and beauty. Consider what a victory he was con- 

\ Vol. I. pp. 155. 160. || Vol. I. p. 1. 

If Plutarch'* Moral*. Vol. I. p. 96. 



20 



EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE STATE OF SOCIETY. 



scious of obtaining ! What an Olympic prize '. So that, by 
heaven, one might justly salute him, Hail, incredibly 
great, universal victor ! " What an implication does such 
language contain of the manners of those times ! 

The Romans were allowed by Romulus to destroy all 
their female children except the eldest : and even with 
regard to their male children, if they were deformed or 
monstrous, he permitted the parents to expose them, after 
having shown them to five of their nearest neighbours. 
Such things were in common use among them, and were 
celebrated upon their theatres. 

Such was their cruelty to their slaves, that it was not 
unusual for the masters to put such of them as were old, 
sick, and infirm into an island in the Tiber, where they 
left them to perish. So far did some of them carry their 
luxury and wantonness as to drown them in the fish-ponds, 
that they might be devoured by the fish, to make the flesh 
more delicate ! 

Gladiatory shoits, in which a number of slaves were en 
gaged to fight for the diversion of the multitude till each 
one slew or was slain by his antagonist, were common 
among them. Of these brutish exercises the people were 
extremely fond ; even the women ran eagerly after them, 
taking pleasure in seeing the combatants kill one another, 
desirous only that they should fall genteelly, or in an agree 
able attitude ! They were exhibited at the funerals of 
great and rich men, and on many other occasions. So 
frequent did they become, that no war, it is said, caused 
such slaughter of mankind as did these sports of pleasure, 
throughout the several provinces of the Roman empire. 

That odious and unnatural vice, which prevailed among 
the Greeks, was also common among the Romans. Cicero 
introduces, without any mark of disapprobation, Cotta, a 
man of the first rank and genius, freely and familiarly 
owning, to other Romans of the same quality, that worse 
than beastly vice as practised by himself, and quoting the 
authorities of ancient philosophers in vindication of it. It 
appears also, from Seneca, that in his time it was practised 
at Rome, openly and without shame. He speaks of flocks 
and troops of boys, distinguished by their colours and na 
tions, and affirms that great care was taken to train them 
up for that detestable employment. 

The religious rites performed in honour of Venus, in 
Cyprus, and at Aphac, on Mount Libanus, consisted in 
lewdness of the grossest kinds. The young people, of both 
sexes, crowded from all parts to those sinks of pollution ; 
and filling the groves and temples with their shameless 
practices, committed whoredom by thousands, out of pure 
devotion. 

All the Babylonian women were obliged to prostitute 
themselves once in their lives, at the temple of Venus or 
Mylitta, to the first man that asked them ; and the money 
earned by this means was always esteemed sacred. 

Human sacrifices were offered up in almost all heathen 
countries. Children were burnt alive by their parents, to 
Baal, Moloch, and other deities. The Carthaginians, in 
times of public calamity, not only burnt alive the children 
of the best families to Saturn, and that by hundreds, but 
sometimes sacrificed themselves in the same manner, in 
great numbers. Here in Britain, and in Gaul, it was a 
common practice to surround a man with a kind of wicker- 
work, and burn him to death, in honour of their gods.* 

In addition to the above, Mr. Hume has written as fol 
lows : " What cruel tyrants were the Romans over the 
world, during the time of their commonwealth ! It is true 
they had laws to prevent oppression in their provincial 
magistrates ; but Cicero informs us that the Romans could 
not better consult the interest of the provinces than by re 
pealing these very laws. For in that case, says he, our 
magistrates, having entire impunity, would plunder no 
more than would satisfy their own rapaciousness ; whereas, 
at present, they must also satisfy that of their judges, and 
of all the great men of Rome, of whose protection they 
stand in need." 

The same writer, who certainly was not prejudiced 
against them, speaking of their commonwealth in its more 

The authorities on which this brief statement of facts is founded 
may be seen in Dr. Leland'g Advantages and Necessity of the Chris 
tian Revelation, Vol. II. Part II. Chap. III. IV., where the subject is 
more particularly handled. See also Deism Revealed, Vol. I. pp. 77, 78. 



early times, further observes, " The most illustrious periot 
of the Roman history, considered in a political view, is that 
between the beginning of the first and end of the last 
Punic war ; yet, at this very time, the horrid practice of 
poisoning was so common, that, during part of a season, a 
praetor punished capitally, for this crime, above three thou 
sand persons in a part of Italy, and found informations of 
this nature still multiplying upon him ! So depraved in 
private life," adds Mr. Hume, " were the people, whom, 
in their history, we so much admire." f 

From the foregoing facts we may form some judgment 
of the justness of Mr. Paine's remarks. " We know no 
thing," says he, " of what the ancient Gentile world was 
before the time of the Jews, whose practice has been to 
calumniate and blacken the character of all other nations 
As far as we know to the contrary, they were a just anc 
moral people, and not addicted, like the Jews, to cruelty 
and revenge, but of whose profession of faith we are unac 
quainted. It appears to have been their custom to personify 
both virtue and vice by statues and images, as is done 
now-a-days by statuary and painting ; but it does not fol 
low from this that they worshipped them any more than 
we do." J 

Unless heathens, before the time of the Jews, were to 
tally different from what they were in all after-ages, there 
can be no reasonable doubt of their worshipping a plurality 
of deities, of which images were supposed to be the repre 
sentations. Mr. Paine himself allows, and that in the 
same performance, that prior to the Christian era they were 
" idolaters, and had twenty or thirty thousand gods."| 
Yet, by his manner of speaking in this place, he manifestly 
wishes to insinuate, in behalf of all the heathen nations, 
that they might worship idols no more than we do. Ii 
might be worth while for this writer, methinks, to bestow 
a little more attention to the improvement of his memory. 

With respect to their being "just and moral people," 
unless they were extremely different before the time of the 
Jews from what they were in all after-ages, there can be 
no reasonable doubt of their being what the sacred writers 
have represented them. If those writers have said nothing 
worse of them than has been said by the most early and 
authentic historians from among themselves, it will be easy 
for an impartial reader to decide whether heathens have 
been " calumniated and blackened" by the Jewish Avriters, 
or the Jewish writers by Mr. Paine. 

But it is not by the state of the ancient heathens only 
that we discover the importance of Christianity. A large 
part of the world is still in the same condition, and the 
same immoralities abound among them which are reported 
to have abounded among the Greeks and Romans. 

I am aware that deistical writers have laboured to hold 
up the modern as well as the ancient heathens in a very 
favourable light. In various anonymous publications, 
much is said of their simplicity and virtue. One of them 
suggests that the Chinese are so " superior to Christians, in 
relation to moral virtues, that it may seem necessary thai 
they should send missionaries to teach us the use and praa 
tice of natural theology, as we send missionaries to them 
to teach them revealed religion." || Yea, and some who 
wish to rank as Christians, have, on this ground, objected 
to all missionary undertakings among the heathen. Lei 
us examine this matter a little closely. 

Almost all the accounts which are favourable to heathen 
virtue are either written by the adversaries of Christianity, 
and with a design to disparage it, or by navigators and 
travellers, who have touched at particular places, and made 
their reports according to the treatment they have met with, 
rather than from a regard to universal righteousness. An 
authentic report of the morals of a people requires to be 
given, not from a transient visit, but from a continued 
residence among them ; not from their occasional treat 
ment of a stranger, but from their general character ; and 
not from having an end to ansAver, but with a rigid regard 
to truth. 

It is worthy of notice, that the far greater part of these 
representations respect people with whom we have little 

+ Essay on Politics a Science. 

t Age of Reason, Part II. pp. 39,40. \ Ibid. p. 5. 

|| Christianity as old as the Creation, pp. 3GC, 3G7. 



EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE STATE OF SOCIETY. 



21 



or no acquaintance, and therefore, whatever the truth may 
be, are less liable to contradiction. As to C'hina, II in- 
dostan, and sonic other parts of the world, with who*e 
moral state we have had the means of acquiring some con 
siderable degree of knowledge, the praises bestowed on 
them by our adversaries have proved to be unfounded, 
l-'r in the accounts of those who have resided in China, 
then- does not seem to be much reason to boast of their 
virtue. On the contrary, their morals appear to be full as 
bad as those of the ancient heathens. It is allowed that 
they take great care of their outward behaviour, more per 
haps than is taken in any other part of the world besides 
that whatever they do or say is so contrived that it may 
La\e a good appearance, please all, and offend none and 
that they excel in outward modesty, gravity, good wcrds, 
courtesy, and civility. But, notwithstanding this, it is 
said that the sin against nature is extremely common that 
drunkenness is considered as no crime that every one 
takes as many concubines as he can keep that many of 
the common people pawn their wives in time of need, and 
some lend them for a month, or more, or less, according 
as they agree that marriage is dissolved on the most tri 
fling occasions that sons and daughters are sold when 
ever their parents please, and that is frequently that 
many of the rich, as well as the poor, when they are de- 
livcred of daughters, stifle and kill them that those who 
are more tender-hearted will leave them under a vessel, 
where they expire in great misery and, finally, that not 
withstanding this they all, except the learned, plead hu 
manity and compassion against killing other living crea- 
tuivs thinking it a cruel thing to take that life which they 
cannot give. Montesquieu says, " The Chinese, whose 
whole life is governed by the established rites, are the 
most void of common honesty of any people upon earth ; 
and the laws, though they do not allow them to rob or to 
spoil by violence, yet permit them to cheat and defraud." 
With this agrees the account given of them in Lord An- 
son's Voyages, and by other navigators that lying, cheat 
ing, stealing, and all the little arts of chicanery abound 
among them ; and that, if you detect them in a fraud, they 
calmly plead the custom of the country.* Such are the 
people by whom we are to be taught the use and practice 
of natural theology ! 

If credit could be given to what some writers have ad 
vanced, we might suppose the moral philosophy and vir 
tuous conduct of the Hindoos to be worthy of being a 
pattern to the world. The rules by which they govern 
I heir conduct are, as we have been told, " Not to tell false 
talcs nor to utter any thing that is untrue ; not to steal 
my thing from others, be it ever so little ; not to defraud 
my by their cunning, in bargains or contracts ; not to 
oppress any when they have power to do it."f 

opposite accounts, however, are given by numerous 
ind respectable witnesses, who do not appear to have writ 
ten under the influence of prejudice. I shall select but 

I two or three. 

Francis Bernier, an intelligent French traveller, speak- 

' ing of the Hindoos, says, " I know not whether there be 
in the world a more covetous and sordid nation. The 

1 Brahmins keep these people in their errors and supersti 
tions, and scruple not to commit tricks and viUanies so in 
famous, that I could never have beliered them, if I had not 

an ample inquiry into them." J 
Governor Holwell thus characterizes them : " A race of 

j^Pple who, from their infancy, are utter strangers to the 
idea of common faith and honesty." " This is the situa 
tion of the bulk of the people of Hindostan, as well as of the 
modern Brahmins : amongst the latter, if we except one 
in a thousand, we give them over measure. The Gentoos 
m general are as degenerate, superstitious, litigious, and 
wricked a people as any race of people in the known world, 
;f not eminently more so ; especially the common run of 
Brahmins ; and we can truly aver that, during almost five 
years that we presided in the Judicial Cutchery Court of 

See Inland's Advantage* and Necessity of Revelation, VoL II. 
Part II. Chap. IV. 

Harris's Voyages and Travels. Vol. I Chap. II. 1 11, 12. 
Voyages de Francois Bernier, Tome I. |>p. 150. 162, el Tome II. p 

Holweir Historical Events. Vol. I. p. 838; Vul. II. p. l.M. 



Calcutta, never any murder, or other atrocious crime, caine 
before us, but it was proved, in the end, a Brahmin was at 
the bottom of it."} 

Mr., afterwards Sir John, Shore, and governor-general 
of Bengal, speaking of the same people, says, " A man 
must be long acquainted with them before he can believe 
them capable of that bare-faced falsehood, servile adula 
tion, and deliberate deception, which they daily practise. 
It is the business of all, from the Ryott to the Uewan, 
to conceal and deceive ; the simplest matters of fact are 
designedly covered with a veil, through which no human 
understanding can penetrate." || 

In perfect agreement with these accounts are others 
which are constantly received from persons of observation 
and probity, now residing in India. Of these the follow 
ing are extracts : " Lying, theft, whoredom, and deceit, 
ore sins for which the Hindoos are notorious. There is 
not one man in a thousand who does not make lying his 
constant practice. Their thoughts of God are so very light, 
that they only consider him as a sort of plaything. Ava 
rice and servility are so united in almost every individual, 
that cheating, juggling, and lying are esteemed no sins 
with them ; and the best among them, though they speak 
ever so great a falsehood, yet consider it no evil, unless 
you first charge them to speak the truth. When they de 
fraud you ever so much, and you charge them with it, they 
coolly answer, It is the custom of the country In Eng 
land, the poor receive the benefit of the gospel, in being 
fed and clothed by those who know not by what principles 
they are moved. For when the gospel is generally ac 
knowledged in a land, it puts some to fear, and others to 
shame ; so that to relieve their own smart they provide for 
the poor: but here (O miserable state!) I have found the 
pathway stopped up by sick and wounded people, perish 
ing with hunger, and that in a populous neighbourhood, 
where numbers pass by, some singing, others talking, but 
none showing mercy ; as though they were dying weeds, 
and not dying men." 5T 

Comparing these accounts, a reader might be apt to 
suppose that the people must have greatly degenerated 
since their laws were framed ; but the truth is, the laws 
are nearly as corrupt as the people. Those who examine 
the Hindoo Code ** will find them so ; and will perceive 
that there is scarcely a species of wickedness which they 
do not tolerate, especially in favour of the Brahmins, of 
which order of men, it may be presumed, were the first 
framers of the constitution. 

Let the reader judge, from this example of the Hindoos, 
what degree of credit is due to antichristian historians, 
when they undertake to describe the virtues of heathens. 

From this brief statement of facts it is not very difficult 
to perceive somewhat of that which Christianity has ac 
complished with regard to the general state of society. It 
is by no means denied that the natural dispositions of 
heathens, as well as other men, are various. The Scrip 
tures themselves record instances of their amiable deport 
ment towards their fellow creatures. ft Neither is it denied 
that there are characters in Christianized nations, and those 
in great numbers, whose wickedness cannot be exceeded, 
nor equalled, by any who are destitute of their advantages. 
There is no doubt but that the general moral character of 
heathens is far less atrocious than that of deists, who re 
ject the light of revelation, and of multitudes of nominal 
Christians who abuse it. The state of both these descrip 
tions of men, with respect to unenlightened pagans, is as 
that of Chorazin and Bethsaida with respect to Sodom and 
Gomorrha. But that for which I contend is the effect of 
Christianity upon the general state of society. It is an in 
disputable fact, that it has banished gross idolatry from 
every nation in Europe. It is granted that, where whole 
nations were concerned, this effect might be accomplished, 
not by persuasion, but by force of arms. In this manner 
many legislators of former times thought they did God 
service. But whatever were the means by which the wor- 

|| Parliamentary Proceedings against Mr. Hasting*, Apprndix to 
Vol. II. p. 65. 

*I Periodical Accounts of the Baptist Mission, No. II. p. 129 ; No. 
III. pp. 191. 230 ; No. IV. p. 291. 

Translated from the Shansciit, and published in 1773. 

1 1 Gen. xxiii. 



22 



EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE STATE OF SOCIETY. 



ship of the one living and true God was at first introduced, 
it is a fact that the principle is now so fully established in 
the minds and consciences of men, that there needs no 
force to prevent a return to the old system of polytheism. 
There needs no greater proof of this than has been afforded 
by unbelievers of a neighbouring nation. Such evidently 
has been their predilection for pagan manners, that had the 
light that is gone abroad among mankind permitted it, 
they would at once have plunged into gross idolatry, as 
into their native element. But this is rendered morally 
impossible. They must be theists or atheists ; polytheists 
they cannot be. 

By accounts which from time to time have been re 
ceived, it appears that the prevailing party in France has 
not only laboured to eradicate every principle of Chris 
tianity, but, in one instance, actually made the experi 
ment for restoring something like the old idolatry. A re 
spectable magistrate of the United States,* in his Address 
to the Grand Jury in Luzerne County, has stated a few of 
these facts to the public. " Infidelity," says he, " having 
got possession of the power of the state, every nerve was 
exerted to efface from the mind all ideas of religion and 
morality. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, or 
a future state of rewards and punishments, so essential to 
the preservation of order in society, and to the prevention 
of crimes, was publicly ridiculed, and the people taught to 
believe that death was an everlasting sleep." 

" They ordered the words ' Temple of Reason ' to be 
inscribed on the churches, in contempt of the doctrine of 
revelation. Atheistical and licentious Homilies have been 
published in the churches, instead of the old service ; and 
a ludicrous imitation of the Greek mythology exhibited, 
under the title of ' The Religion of Reason.' Nay, they 
have gone so far as to dress up with the most fantastic de 
corations a common strumpet, whom they blasphemously 
styled ' The Goddess of Reason,' and who was carried to 
church on the shoulders of some Jacobins selected for the 
purpose, escorted by the National Guards and the con 
stituted aitthorities. When they got to the church, the 
strumpet was placed on the altar erected for the purpose, 
and harangued the people, who, in return, professed the 
deepest adoration to her, and sung the Carmagnole and 
other songs, by way of worshipping her. This horrid 
scene almost too horrid to relate was concluded by burn 
ing the prayer-book, confessional, and every thing ap 
propriated to the use of public worship ; numbers, in the 
mean time, danced round the flames with every appearance 
of frantic and infernal mirth." 

These things sufficiently express the inclinations of the 
parties concerned, and what kind of blessings the world is 
to expect from atheistical philosophy. But all attempts of 
this kind are vain : the minds of men throughout Europe, 
if I may for once use a cant term of their own, are too en 
lightened to stoop to the practice of such fooleries. We 
have a gentleman in our own country who appears to be a 
sincere devotee to the pagan worship, and who, it seems, 
would wish to introduce it ; but, as far as I can learn, all 
the success which he has met with is to have obtained 
from the public the honourable appellation of the Gentile 
priest. 

Whatever we are, and whatever we may be, gross idol 
atry, I presume, may be considered as banished from 
Europe ; and, thanks be to God, a number of its attendant 
abominations, with various other immoral customs of the 
heathen, are, in a good measure, banished with it. We 
have no human sacrifices ; no gladiatory combats ; no pub 
lic indecencies between the sexes ; no law that requires 
prostitution ; no plurality or community of wives ; no 
dissolving of marriages on trifling occasions ; nor any legal 
murdering of children, or of the aged and infirm. If un 
natural crimes be committed among us, they are not com 
mon ; much less are they tolerated by the laws, or coun 
tenanced by public opinion. On the contrary, the odium 
which follows such practices is sufficient to stamp with 
perpetual infamy the first character in the laud. Rapes, 
incests, and adulteries are not only punishable by law, but 
odious in the estimation of the public. It is with us, at 
least in a considerable degree, as it was in Judea, where 

* Judjje Hush. 



he that was guilty of such vices was considered as a fool in 
Israel. The same, in less degrees, may be said of forni 
cation, drunkenness, lying, theft, fraud, and cruelty: no 
one can live in the known practice of these vices, and 
retain his character. It cannot be pleaded in excuse with 
us, as it is in China, Hindostan, and Otaheite, that " such 
things are the custom of the country." 

We freely acknowledge, that if we turn our eyes upon 
the great evils which still exist, even in those nations where 
Christianity has had the greatest influence, we find abund 
ant reason for lamentation ; but, while we lament the 
evil, there is no reason that we should overlook the good. 
Comparing our state with that of former times, we cannot 
but with thankfulness acknowledge, What hath God 
wrought ! 

I can conceive of but one question that can have any 
tendency to weaken the argument arising from the forego 
ing facts ; viz. Are they the effects of Christianity ? If 
they be not, and can be fairly accounted for on other prin 
ciples, the argument falls to the ground ; but if they be, 
though Shaftesbury satirize, Hume doubt, Yoltaire laugh, 
Gibbon insinuate, and Paine pour forth scurrility like a 
torrent, yet honest men will say, " An evil tree bringeth 
not forth good fruit : if this religion were not of God, it 
could do nothing." 

If there be any adequate cause, distinct from Chris 
tianity, to which these effects may be ascribed, it becomes 
our adversaries to state it. Meanwhile, I may observe, 
they are not ascribable to any thing besides Christianity 
that has borne the name of religion. As to that of the an 
cient heathens, it had no manner of relation to morality. 
The priests, as Dr. Leland has proved, " made it not their 
business to teach men virtue. "f It is the same with 
modern heathens ; their religion has nothing of morality 
pertaining to it. They perform a round of superstitious 
observances, which produce no good effect whatever upon 
their lives. What they were yesterday, they are to-day ; 
" No man repenteth himself of his wickedness, saying, 
What have I done ! " Nor is it materially different with 
Mahometans. Their religion, though it includes the ac 
knowledgment of one living and true God, yet, rejecting 
the Messiah as the Son of God, and attaching them to a 
bloody and lascivious impostor, produces no good effect 
upon their morals, but leaves them under the dominion oi 
barbarity and voluptuousness. In short, there is 110 re 
ligion but that of Jesus Christ that so much as professes to 
" bless men by turning them from their iniquities." 

Neither can these effects be attributed to philosophy. A 
few great minds despised the idolatries of their country 
men ; but they did not reform them : and no wonder ; 
for they practised what they themselves despised. Nor 
did all their harangues in favour of virtue produce any 
substantial effect, either on themselves or others. The 
heathen nations were never more enlightened as to philo 
sophy than at the time of our Saviour's appea.rance ; jet, 
as to morality, they never were more depraved. 

It is Christianity then, and nothing else, which has de 
stroyed the odious idolatry of many nations, and greatly 
contracted its attendant immoralities. It was in this way 
that the gospel operated in the primitive ages, wherever it 
was received ; and it is in the same way that it continues 
to operate to the present time. Real Christians must needs 
be adverse to these things, and they are the only men living 
who cordially set themselves against them. 

This truth will receive additional evidence from an ob 
servation of the different degrees of morality produced in 
different places, according to the degree of purity with 
which the Christian religion has been taught, and liberty 
given it to operate. In several nations of Europe popery 
has long been established, and supported by sanguinary 
laws. By these means the Bible has been kept from the 
common people, Christian doctrine and worship corrupted, 
and the consciences of men subdued to a usurper of Christ's 
authority. Christianity is there in prison, and autichris- 
tianism exalted in its place ! In other nations this yoke is 
broken. Every true Christian has a Bible in his family, 
and measures his religion by it. The rights of conscience 
also being respected, men are allowed, in religious matters, 

+ Advantages and Necessity of Revelation, Vol.JI. p. 38. 



EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE STATE OF SOCIETY. 



23 



to judge and act for themselves ; and Christian churches 
are formed according to the primitive model. Christianity 
is here at liberty ; here, therefore, it may he expected to 
produce its greatest effects. Whether this does not corre 
spond with fact, let tho>e who are accustomed to 
men and things with an impartial eye determine. 

In Italy, France, and various other countries, where the 
Christian religion has been so far corrupted as to lose 
nearly all its influence, illicit connexions may be formed, 
adulterous intrigues pursued, and even crimes against 
nature committed, with but little dishonour. Rousseau 
could here send his illegitimate offspring to the Foundling 
Hospital, and lay his accounts with being applauded for 
it, as being the custom of the country. It is not so in 
Britain, and various other nations, where the gospel has 
had a freer course ; for though the same dispositions are 
discovered in great numbers of persons, yet the fear of 
the public frown holds them in awe. If we except a few 
abandoned characters who have nearly lost all sense of 
shame, and who by means either of their titles or fortunes 
on the one hand, or their well-known baseness on the 
other, have almost bid defiance to the opinion of mankind, 
this observation will hold good, I believe, as to the bulk 
of the inhabitants of protestant countries. 

And it is worthy of notice, that in those circles or con 
nexions where Christianity has had the greatest influence, 
a sobriety of character is carried to a much higher degree 
than in any other. Where there is one divorce from 
among protestant dissenters, and other serious professors 
of Christianity, there are, I believe, a hundred from among 
those whose practice it is to neglect the worship of God, 
and to frequent the amusements of the theatre. And, in 
proportion to the singularity of cases, such is the surprise, 
indignation, and disgrace which accompany them. Simi 
lar observations might be made on public executions for 
robbery, forgery, tumults, assassinations, murders, &c. It 
is not among the circles professing a serious regard to 
Christianity, but among its adversaries, that these practices 
ordinarily prevail. 

Some have been inclined to attribute various differences 
in these things to a difference in national character ; but 
national character, as it respects morality, is formed very 
much from the state of society in different nations. A 
number of painful observations would arise from a view of 
the conduct and character of Englishmen on foreign shores. 
To say nothing of the rapacities committed in the East, 
whither is our boasted humanity fled when we land upon 
the coasts of Guinea t The brutality with which millions 
of our fellow creatures have been torn from their con 
nexions, bound in irons, thrown into a floating dungeon, 
sold in the public markets, beaten, maimed, and many of 
them murdered for trivial offences, and all this without 
any effectual restraint from the laws, must load our national 
character with everlasting infamy. The same persons, 
however, who can be guilty of these crimes at a distance, 
are as apparently humane as other people when they re- 
enter their native country. And wherefore 1 Because in 
their native country the state of society is such as will not 
admit of a contrary behaviour. A man who should violate 
the principles of justice and humanity here would not 
only be exposed to the censure of the laws, but, supposing 
he could evade this, his character would be lost. The 
state of society in Guinea imposes no such restraints ; in 
that situation, therefore, wicked men will indulge in 
wickedness. Nor is it much otherwise in our West India 
islands. So little is there of Christianity in those quarters, 
that it has hitherto had scarcely any influence in the 
framing of their laws, or the forming of the public opinion. 
There are, doubtless, just and humane individuals in those 
inlands ; but the far greater part of them, it is to be feared, 
are devotees to avarice, to which, as to a Moloch, one or 
other of them is continually offering up human victims. 

Vicious practices are commonly more prevalent in large 
and populous cities than in other places. Hither the 
worst characters commonly resort, as noxious animals to a 
covert from their pursuers. In places but thinly inhabited, 
the conduct of individuals is conspicuous to the com 
munity ; but here they can assemble with others of their 
own description, and strengthen each other's hands in 
evil, without much fear of being detected. Christianity, 



therefore, may be supposed to have less effect in the way 
of restraining immoral characters in the cit\ than in the 
country. Yet even here it is sensibly felt. Though thi? 
metropolis of our own nation abounds with almost -MMV 
species of vice, yet what reflecting citizen will deny that 
it would be much worse but for the influence of the gos 
pel t As it is, there are numbers, of different religious 
denominations, who constantly attend to public and family 
worship, who are as honourable in their dealings as they 
are amiable in domestic life, and as liberal in their bene 
factions as they are assiduous to find out deservinir 
The influence which this body of men have upon the 
citizens at large, in restraining vice, promoting schemes of 
benevolence, and preserving peace and good order in so 
ciety, is beyond calculation. But for their examples, and 
unremitted exertions, London would be a Sodom in its 
guilt, and might expect to resemble it in its punishment. 

In country towns and villages it is easy to perceive the 
influence which a number of serious Christians will have 
upon the manners of the people at large. A few families 
in which the Bible is daily read, the worship of God per 
formed, and a Christian conversation exemplified, will hav 
a powerful effect. Whether characters of an opposite 
description regard their conduct, or not, their consciences 
favour it. Hence it is that one upright man, in a question 
of right and wrong, will often put to silence a company of 
the advocates of unrighteousness ; and that three or four 
Christian families have been known to give a turn to the 
manners of a whole neighbourhood. 

In fine, let it be closely considered whether a great part 
of that sobriety which is to be found among deists them- 
sehes (as there are, doubtless, sober characters among 
deists, and even among atheists) be not owing to Chris 
tianity. It has often been remarked, and justly too, that 
much of the knowledge which our adversaries possess is 
derived from this source. To say nothing of the best 
ideas of the old philosophers on moral subjects being de 
rived from revelation, of which there is considerable evi 
dence, it is manifest that, so far as the moderns exceed 
them, it is principally, if not entirely, owing to this medium 
of instruction. The Scriptures having diffused the light, 
they have insensibly imbibed it ; and finding it to accord 
with reason, they flatter themselves that their reason has 
discovered it. "After grazing," as one expresses it, "in 
the pastures of revelation, they boast of having grown fat 
by nature." And it is the same with regard to their so 
briety. So long as they reside among people whose ideas 
of right and wrong are formed by the morality of the 
gospel, they must, unless they wish to be stigmatized a< 
profligates, behave with some degree of decorum. Where 
the conduct is uniform and consistent, charity, I allow, 
and even justice, will lead us to put the best construction 
upon the motive ; but when we see men uneasy under 
restraints, and continually writing in favour of vices which 
they dare not openly practise, we are justified in imputing 
their sobriety, not to principle, but to the circumstances 
attending their situation. If some of those gentlemen 
who have deserted the Christian ministry, and commenced 
professed infidels, had acted years ago as licentiously as 
they have done of late, they must have quitted their situ 
ation sooner ; and were they now to leave their country 
and connexions, and enter into such a state of society as 
would comport with their present wishes, their conduct 
would be more licentious than it is. 

On these principles that great and excellent man WASH 
INGTON, in his farewell address to the people of the United 
States, acknowledges the necessity of religion to the well- 
being of a nation. " Of all the dispositions and habits 
which lead to political prosperity," he says, " religion and 
morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that 
man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to 
subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firm 
est props of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally 
with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. 
A volume could not trace all their connexions with private 
and public felicity. Let it be simply asked, Where is the 
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense 
of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the in 
struments of investigation in the courts of justice 1 And 
let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality 



24 



CHRISTIANITY A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS. 



can be maintained without religion Whatever may be 
conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of 
a peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us 
to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of 
religious principle.' 

Upon the -whole, the evidence of this chapter proves not 
only that Christianity is a living principle of virtue in 
good men, but that it affords this further blessing to so 
ciety, that it restrains the vices of the bad. It is a tree of 
life whose fruit is immortality, and whose very leaves are 
for the healing of the nations. 



CHAPTER VII. 

CHRISTIANITY 18 A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS TO INDIVIDUALS 
AND SOCIETY, BUT DEISM LEAVES BOTH THE ONE AND 
THE OTHER WITHOUT HOPE. 

THOUGH the happiness of creatures be not admitted to be 
the final end of God's moral government, yet it is freely 
allowed to occupy an important place in the system. God 
is good, and his goodness appears in having so blended the 
honour of his name with the felicity of his creatures, that 
in seeking the one they should find the other. In so im 
portant a light do we consider human happiness, as to be 
willing to allow that to be the true religion which is most 
adapted to promote it. 

To form an accurate judgment on this subject, it is 
necessary to ascertain wherein happiness consists. We 
ought neither to expect nor desire, in the present life, such 
a state of mind as wholly excludes painful sensations. 
Had we less of the exercises of godly sorrow, our sacred 
pleasures would be fewer than they are ; or were we un 
acquainted with the afflictions common to men, we should 
be less able to sympathize with them, which would be in 
jurious, not only to society, but to ourselves, as it would 
deprive us of one of the richest sources of enjoyment. 

Mr. Hume, in one of his Essays, very properly called 
The Sceptic, seems to think that happiness lies in having 
one's inclinations gratified ; and as different men have 
different inclinations, and even the same men at different 
times, that may be happiness in one case which is misery 
in another. This sceptical writer, however, would hardly 
deny that in happiness, as in other things, there is a false 
and a true, an imaginary and a real ; or that a studied in 
dulgence of the appetites and passions, though it should 
promote the one, would destroy the other. The light of 
nature, as acknowledged even by deists, teaches that self- 
denial, in many cases, is necessary to self-preservation ; 
and that to act a contrary part would be to ruin our peace 
and destroy our health.* I presume it will be granted 
that no definition of happiness can be complete which in 
cludes not peace of mind, which admits not of perpetuity, 
or which meets not the necessities and miseries of human 
life. 

But if nothing deserves the name of happiness which 
does not include peace of mind, all criminal pleasure is at 
once excluded. Could a life of unchastity, intrigue, dis 
honour, and disappointed pride, like that of Rousseau, be 
a happy life ? No ; amidst the brilliancy of his talents, 
remorse, shame, conscious meanness, and the dread of an 
hereafter, must corrode his heart, and render him a stranger 
to peace. Contrast with the life of this man that of 
Howard. Pious, temperate, just, and benevolent, he lived 
for the good of mankind. His happiness consisted in 
" serving his generation by the will of God." If all men 
were like Rousseau, the world would be abundantly more 
miserable than it is ; if all were like Howard, it would be 
abundantly more happy. Rousseau, governed by the love 
of fame, is fretful and peevish, and never satisfied with the 
treatment he receives : Howard, governed by the love of 
mercy, shrinks from applause, with this modest and just 
reflection, " Alas ! our best performances have such a 
mixture of sin and folly, that praise is vanity, and pre- 

Volney's Law of Nature, p. 12. 



sumption, and pain to a thinking mind." Rousseau, 
after a life of debauchery and shame, confesses it to the 
world, and makes a merit of his confession, and even pre 
sumptuously supposes that it will avail him before the 
Judge of all : Howard, after a life of singular devotedness 
to God, and benevolence to men, accounted himself an 
unprofitable servant, leaving this for his motto, his last 
testimony, " Christ is my hope." Can there be any doubt 
which of the two was the happier man * 

. Further, If nothing amounts to real happiness which 
admits not of perpetuity, all natural pleasure, when weighed 
against the hopes and joys of the gospel, will be found 
wanting. It is an expressive characteristic of the good 
things of this life, that " they all perish with the using." 
The charms of youth and beauty quickly fade. The power 
of relishing natural enjoyments is soon gone. The plea 
sures of active life, of building, planting, forming schemes, 
and achieving enterprises, soon follow. In old age none 
of them will flourish, and in death they are exterminated. 
" The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and 
the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain 
of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counsellor, and 
the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator," all descend 
in one undistinguished mass into oblivion. And as this 
is a truth which no man can dispute, those who have no 
prospects of a higher nature must often feel themselves 
unhappy. Contrast with this the joys of the gospel. 
These, instead of being diminished by time, are often in 
creased. To them the soil of age is friendly. While 
nature has been fading and perishing by slow degrees, 
how often have we seen faith, hope, love, patience, and 
resignation to God in full bloom ! W r ho but Christians 
can contemplate the loss of all present enjoyments with 
satisfaction I Who else can view death, judgment, and 
eternity with desire ! I appeal to the hearts of libertines 
and unbelievers, whether they have not many misgivings 
and revoltings within them ; and whether, in the hour of 
solitary reflection, they have not sighed the wish of Ba 
laam, " Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my 
last end be like his ! " 

The following extract from a letter of a late nobleman, 
of loose principles, well known in the gay world, and pub 
lished as authentic by. a respectable prelate, deceased, will 
show the dreadful vacancy and wretchedness of a mind 
left to itself in the decline of life, and unsupported by 
Christian principle. " I have seen the silly round of 
business and pleasure, and have done with it all. I have 
enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently 
know their futility, and do not regret their loss. I ap 
praise them at their real value, which in truth is very 
low ; whereas those who have not experienced always 
overrate them. They only see their gay outside, and are 
dazzled with their glare ; but I have been behind the 
scenes. I have seen all the coarse pulleys and dirty ropes 
which exhibit and move the gaudy machine ; and I have 
seen and smelt the tallow candles which illuminate the 
whole decoration, to the astonishment and admiration of 
the ignorant audience. When I reflect on what I have 
seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I cannot 
persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry of bustle and 
pleasure of the world had any reality ; but I look on all 
that is past as one of those romantic dreams which opium 
commonly occasions, and I do by no means wish to re 
peat the nauseous dose for the sake of the fugitive dream. 
Shall I tell you that I bear this melancholy situation with 
that meritorious constancy and resignation that most men 
boast 7 No, sir, I really cannot help it. I bear it because 
I must bear it, whether I will or no. I think of nothing 
but killing time the best way I can, now that time is be 
come my enemy. It is my resolution to sleep in the 
carriage during the remainder of the journey." 

" You see," reflects the worthy prelate, " in how poor, 
abject, and unpitied a condition, at a time when he most 
wanted help and comfort, the world left him, and he left 
the world. Compare these words with those of another 
person, who took his leave in a very different manner : " I 
am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure 
is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 
for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the right- 



CHRISTIANITY A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS. 



eous Judge shall give, me at that day : and not to me only, 
but unto all them also who love his appearing." It is ob- 
>li! that even Rousseau himself, though the language 
certainly did not become his lips, affected in advanced life 
to derive consolation from Christian principles. In a letter 
to Voltaire he says, " I cannot help remarking, sir, a very 
singular contract between you and me. Sated with glory, 
an<l undeceived with the inanity of worldly grandeur, you 
live at freedom, in the midst of plenty, certain of immor 
tality ; you peaceably philosophize on the nature of the 
soul ; and if the body or the heart be indisposed, you have 
Tronchin for your physician and friend. Yet with all this 
you find nothing but evil on the face of the earth. I, on 
the other hand, obscure, indigent, tormented with an in- 
cunible disorder, meditate with pleasure in my solitude, 
and find every thing to be good. Whence arise these 
apparent contradictions t You have yourself explained 
them. Yon live in a state of enjoyment, I in a state of 
hope ; and hope gives charms to every thing." * 

Finally, If nothing deserves the name of happiness 
which meets not the necessities nor relieves the miseries of 
human life, Christianity alone can claim it. Every one 
who looks into his own heart, and makes proper observa 
tions on the dispositions of others, will perceive that man 
is possessed of a desire after something which is not to be 
found under the sun after a good which has no limits. 
We may imagine our desires are moderate, and set bound 
aries, beyond which we may flatter ourselves we should 
never wish to pass ; but this is self-deception. He that 
sets his heart on an estate, if he gain it, will wish for some 
thing more. It would be the same if it were a kingdom, 
or even if all the kingdoms of the world were united in 
one. Nor is this desire to be attributed merely to human 
depravity, for it is the same with regard to knowledge : 
the mind is never satisfied with its present acquisitions. It 
is depravity that directs us to seek satisfaction in something 
short of God ; but it is owing to the nature of the soul 
that we are never able to find it. It is not possible that a 
being created immortal, and with a mind capable of con 
tinual enlargement, should obtain satisfaction in a limited 
good. Men may spend their time and strength, and even 
sacrifice their souls, in striving to grasp it, but it will elude 
their pursuit. It is only from an uncreated source that the 
mind can drink its fill. Here it is that the gospel meets 
our necessities. Its language is, " Ho, every one that 
thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no 
money ; come ye, buy and eat ; yea, come, buy wine and 
milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye 
spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour 
for that which satisfieth not ? Hearken diligently unto me, 
and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight 
itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me ; 
hear, and your soul shall live." " In the last day, that 
great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any 
man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." " He that 
Cometh to me shall never hunger ; and he that believeth 
on me shall never thirst." How this language has been 
Terified, all who have made the trial can testify. To them, 
as to the only competent witnesses, I appeal. 

It is not merely the nature of the soul however, but its 
depravity, whence our necessities arise. We are sinners, 
man who believes there is a God, and a future 
state, or even only admits the possibility of them, feels the 
want of mercy. The first inquiries of a mind awakened to 
reflection will be how he may escape the wrath to come 
how he shall get over his everlasting ruin. A heathen, 
previously to any Christian instruction, exclaimed, in the 
moment of alarm, "What must I do to be saved Vf 
And several Mahometans, being lately warned by a Chris 
tian minister of their sinful state, came the next morning 
to him with this very serious question Keman par hoibof 
" How shall we get over \ " J To answer these inquiries 
IB beyond the power of any principles but those of the gos 
pel. Philosophy may conjecture, superstition may deceive, 
and even a false system of Christianity may be aiding and 
abetting; each may labour to lull the conscience to sleep, 
but none of them can yield it satisfaction. It is only by 
believing in Jesus Christ, the great sacrifice that taketh 

Work*, Vol. IX. p. 336. 
* Act* xvi. 30. 



away the sin of the world, that the sinner obtains a relief 
which will bear reflection a relief which, at th. 
time, gives peace to the mind and purity to the heart. For 
the truth of this also I appeal to all who have made the 
trial. 

Where, but in the gospel, will you find relief under the 
innumerable ills of the present state ! This is the well- 
known refuge of Christians. Are they poor, afflicted, per 
secuted, or reproached 1 They are led to consider Him 
who endured the contradiction of sinners, who lived a life 
of poverty and ignominy, who endured persecution and 
reproach, and death itself, for them ; and to realize a 
blessed immortality in prospect. By a view of such things 
their hearts are cheered, and their afflictions become toler 
able. Looking to Jesus, who for the joy set before him 
endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set 
down at the right hand of the throne of God, they run 
with patience the race which is set before them. But 
what is the comfort of unbelievers 1 Life being short, and 
having no ground to hope for any thing beyond it, if they 
be crossed here, they become inconsolable. Hence it is 
not uncommon for persons of this description, after the 
example of the philosophers and statesmen of Greece and 
Rome, when they find themselves depressed by adversity, 
and have no prospect of recovering their fortunes, to put a 
period to their lives ! Unhappy men ! Is this the felicity 
to which ye would introduce usl Is it in guilt, shame, 
remorse, and desperation that ye descry such charms 1 
Admitting that our hope of immortality is visionary, where 
is the injury 1 If it be a dream, is it not a pleasant one T 
To say the least, it beguiles many a melancholy hour, and 
can do 110 mischief; but if it be a reality, what will be 
come of you t 

I may be told that, if many put a period to their lives 
through unbelief, there is an equal number who fall sacri 
fices to religious melancholy. But, to render this objection 
of force, it should be proved that the religion of Jesus 
Christ is the cause of this melancholy. Reason may con 
vince us of the being of a God, and conscience bear witness 
that we are exposed to his displeasure. Now if in this 
state of mind the heart refuse to acquiesce in the gospel 
way of salvation, we shall of course either rest in some de 
lusive hope, or sink into despair. But here it is not religion, 
but the want of it, that produces the evil ; it is unbelief, 
and not faith, that sinks the sinner into despondency. 
Christianity disowns such characters. It records some 
few examples, such as Saul, Ahithophel, and Judas ; but 
they are all branded as apostates from God and true re 
ligion. On the contrary, the writings of unbelievers, both 
ancient and modern, are known to plead for suicide, as an 
expedient in extremity. Rousseau, Hume, and others 
have written in defence of it. The principles of such men 
both produce and require it. It is the natural offspring of 
unbelief, and the last resort of disappointed pride. 

Whether Christianity or the want of it be best adapted 
to relieve the heart,, under its various pressures, let those 
testify who have been in the habit of visiting the afflicted 
poor. On this subject the writer of these sheets can 
speak from his own knowledge. In this situation cha 
racters of very opposite descriptions are found. Some are 
serious and sincere Christians ; others, even among those 
who have attended the preaching of the gospel, appear 
neither to understand nor to feel it. The tale of woe is 
told perhaps by both ; but the one is unaccompanied with 
that discontent, that wretchedness of mind, and that in 
clination to despair, which is manifest in the other. Often 
have I seen the cheerful smile of contentment under cir 
cumstances the most abject and afflictive. Amidst tears of 
sorrow, which a full heart has rendered it impossible to 
suppress, a mixture of hope and joy has glistened. " The 
cuj> which my Father hath given me to drink, shall I not 
drink itl" Such have been their feelings, and such their 
expressions ; and where this has been the case, death has 
generally been embraced as the messenger of peace. Here, 
I have said, participating of their sensations, " here is the 
patience and the faith of the saints. Here are they that 
keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 
This is the victory that ovcrcometh the world, even our 

i Periodical Account! of the Baptist Missionary Society, No. IV. 
p. 326. 



26 



CHRISTIANITY A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS. 



faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that 
believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" 

From individual happiness, let us proceed to examine 
that of society. Let us inquire whether there be any 
well-grounded hope of the future melioration of the state 
of mankind, besides that which is afforded by the gospel. 
Great expectations have been raised of an end being put 
to wars, and of universal good-will pervading the earth, 
in consequence of philosophical illumination, and the pre 
valence of certain modes of civil government. But these 
speculations proceed upon false data. They suppose that 
the cause of these evils is to be looked for in the ignorance, 
rather than in the depravity of men ; or if depravity be 
allowed to have any influence, it is confined to the pre 
cincts of a court. "Without taking upon me to decide 
which is the best mode of civil government, or what mode 
is most adapted to promote the peace and happiness of 
mankind, it is sufficient, in this case, to show that wars 
generally originate, as the apostle James says, in the lusts, 
or corrupt passions, of mankind. If this be proved, it will 
follow that, however some forms of government may be 
more friendly to peace and happiness than others, yet 110 
radical cure can be effected till the dispositions of men 
we changed. Let power be placed where it may, with 
one or with many, still it must be in the hands of men. 
If all governments were so framed as that every national 
act should be expressive of the real will of the people, 
still, if the preponderating part of them be governed by 
pride and self-love rather than equity, we are not much 
the nearer. Governors taken from the common mass of 
society must needs resemble it. If there be any difference 
at the time of their first elevation to office, owing, as may 
be supposed, to the preference which all men give to an 
upright character for the management of their concerns, 
yet this advantage will be balanced, if not overbalanced, 
by the subsequent temptations to injustice which are af 
forded by situations of wealth and power. 

What is the source of contentions in common life 1 
Observe the discords in neighbourhoods and families, which, 
notwithstanding all the restraints of relationship, interest, 
honour, law, and reason, are a fire that never ceases to 
burn, and which, were they no more controlled by the 
laws than independent nations are by each other, would 
in thousands of instances break forth into assassinations 
and murders. Whence spring these wars 1 Are they the 
result of ignorance f If so, they would chiefly be confined 
to the rude or uninformed part of the community. But 
is it so I There may, it is true, be more pretences to peace 
and good-will, and fewer bursts of open resentment, in the 
higher than in the lower orders of people ; but their 
dispositions are much the same. The laws of politeness 
can only polish the surface ; and there are some parts of 
the human character which still appear very rough. Even 
politeness has its regulations for strife and murder, and 
establishes iniquity by a law. The evil disposition is a 
kind of subterraneous fire, and in some form it will have 
Tent. Are they the result of court influence ? No. The 
truth is, if civil government in some form did not influ 
ence the fears of the unjust and contentious part of the 
community, there would be no security to those who are 
peaceably inclined, and especially to those who are withal 
religious, and whose pious conduct, like that of Noah, 
condemns the world. Now the same disposition which, 
in persons whose power extends only to a cottage, will 
operate in a way of domestic discord, in others, whose 
influence extends to the affairs of nations, will operate on 
a more enlarged scale, producing war, and all the dire ca 
lamities which attend it. The sum of the whole is this : 
When the preponderating part of the world shall cease to 
be proud, ambitious, envious, covetous, lovers of their 
own selves, false, malignant, and intriguing when they 
shall love God and one another out of a pure heart then, 
and not till then, may we expect wars to cease, and the 
state of mankind to be essentially meliorated. While 
these dispositions remain, they will be certain to show 
themselves. If the best laws or constitution in the world 
stand in their way, they will, on certain occasions, bear 
down all before them. 

An anonymous writer in the Monthly Magazine* (a 
* For February, 1799, p. 9. 



work which, without avowing it, is pretty evidently de 
voted to the cause of infidelity) has instituted an inquiry 
into " the probability of the future melioration of man 
kind." A dismal prospect indeed it is which he holds up 
to his fellow creatures ; yet were I an infidel, like him, I 
should acquiesce in many things which he advances. The 
anchor of his hopes is an increase of knowledge, and the 
effects of this are circumscribed within a very narrow 
boundary. With respect to what we call civilization, he 
reckons it to have undergone all the vicissitudes of which 
it is capable. Scientific refinement may contribute to the 
happiness of a few individuals ; but, he fears, cannot be 
made a ground of much advantage to the mass of man 
kind. Great scope, indeed, remains for the operation of 
increased knowledge in improvement in government ; but 
even here it can only cure those evils which arise from 
ignorance, and not those which proceed from intention, 
which, " while the propensity to prefer our own interests 
above that of the community is," as he acknowledges, 
" interwoven into our very nature," will always form the 
mass of existing ills. If, indeed, the majority of a com 
munity, he says, became so enlightened concerning their 
interests, and so wise, steady, and unanimous in the pur 
suit of them, as to overcome all that resistance which the 
possessors of undue advantages will always make to a 
change unfavourable to themselves, something might be 
hoped for. But this, while they are under their old mas 
ters, he reckons as next to impossible. As to political 
revolutions, he did form high expectations from them ; but 
his hopes are at an end. " I have only the wish left," 
says he ; " the confidence is gone." As to improved systems 
of morality, which he considers as the art of living happy, 
though it might seem promising, yet history, he very justly 
remarks, does not allow us to expect that men, in propor 
tion as they advance in this species of knowledge, will 
become more just, more temperate, or more benevolent. 
Of the extinction of wars he has no hope. The new order 
of things which seemed opening in Europe, and to bid 
fair for it, has rather increased the evil ; and as to Chris 
tianity, it has been tried, it seems, and found to be insuf 
ficient for the purpose. Commerce, instead of binding 
the nations in a golden chain of mutual peace and friend 
ship, seems only to have given additional motives for war. 
The amount is, There is little or no hope of the state of 
mankind being meliorated on public principles. All the 
improvement he can discern in this way consists in there 
being a little more lenity in the government of some coun 
tries than formerly ; and as to this, it is balanced by the 
prodigious increase of standing armies, and other national 
burdens. 

The only way in which an increase in knowledge is to 
operate to the melioration of the state of mankind is in 
private life. It is to soften and humanize men's manners, 
and emancipate their minds from the shackles of super 
stition and bigotry names which writers of this class 
commonly bestow upon Christianity. This is the boundary 
beyond which, whatever be his wishes, the hopes of this 
writer will not suffer him to pass ; and even this respects 
only Europe and her immediate connexions, and not the 
whole of them. The great mass of mankind are in an 
absolutely hopeless condition ; for there are no means of 
carrying our improvements among them but by conquest, 
and conquest is a Pandora's box, at the mention of which 
he shudders. 

Such are the prospects of unbelievers ; such is the horrid 
despondency under which they sink when Providence 
counteracts their favourite schemes ; and such the spirit 
which they labour to infuse into the minds of men in order 
to make them happy ! Christian reader, have you no 
better hopes than these ! Are you not acquainted with a 
principle which, like the machine of Archimedes, will 
remove this mighty mass of evils ! Be they as great and 
as numerous as they may, if all can be reduced to a single 
cause, and that cause removed, the work is done. All the 
evils of which this writer complains are reducible to that 
one principle, which, he says, (and it is well he says it,) 
" is interwoven into our very nature ; namely, The pro 
pensity to prefer our own interest above that of the com 
munity." It is this propensity that operates in the great, 
and induces them to " oppose every thing that would be 



CHRISTIANITY A SOURCE OF HAPPINESS. 



unfavourable to their power and advantage ; and the same 
thint; operates among common people, irn-:it numbers of 
whom, it N well known, would sell their country for a 
piece of bread. If this principle cannot be removed, I 
shall, with this writer, for ever despair of any essential 
changes for the better in the state of mankind, and will 
content myself with cultivating private and domestic hap- 
. and hoping for the blessedness of a future life ; 
but if it can, I must leave him to despair alone. 

My hopes are not founded on forms of government, nor 
u an increase of knowledge, though each may have 
its value ; but on the spirit by which both the rulers and 
the people tcill be yoterncd. All forms of government have 
hitherto rested on the basis of self-love. The wisest and 
best statesmen have been obliged to take it for granted 
that the mass of every people will be governed by this 
principle ; and, consequently, all their schemes have been 
directed to the balancing of things in such a manner as 
thut ]>cople, in pursuing their own interest, should promote 
that of the public. If in any case they have presumed 
on the contrary, experience has soon taught them that all 
their schemes are visionary, and inapplicable to real life. 
But if the mass of the people, composed of all the differ 
ent orders of society, were governed by a spirit of justice 
and disinterested benevolence, systems of government 
might safely be formed on this basis. It would then be 
sufficient for statesmen to ascertain what was right, and 
best adapted to promote the good of the community, and 
the people would cheerfully pursue it ; and, pursuing this, 
would find their own good more effectually promoted than 
by all the little discordant arts of a selfish mind. 

The excellence of the most admired constitutions which 
have hitherto appeared in the world, has chiefly consisted 
in the balance of power being so distributed, among the 
different orders of society, as that no one should materially 
oppress or injure the other. They have endeavoured to 
set boundaries to each other's encroachments, and con 
trived, in some degree, to counteract venality, corruption, 
and tumult. But all this supposes a corrupt state of so 
ciety, and amounts to no more than making the best of 
things, taking them as they arc. As things are, locks, and 
keys, and bolts, and bars are necessary in our bouses ; but 
it were better if there were no occasion for them. I do 
not take upon me to say that things will ever be in such 
a state as that there shall be no need of these political 
precautions ; but I believe they will be fax less necessary 
than at present. 

If the Bible be true, the knowledge of the Lord will 
cover the earth as the waters cover the sea ; the kingdoms 
of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and 
of his Christ ; idolatry, and every species of false religion, 
shall be no more ; the arts and instruments of war shall 
be laid aside, and exchanged for those of husbandry ; the 
different tribes of man shall be united in one common 
band of brotherly love ; slavery and oppression will cease ; 
righteousness will be established in the earth ; and " the 
work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of 
righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." 

But "Christianity has been tried," it seems, "and found 
insufficient." That it has not been, as yet, sufficient to 
banish unjust wars from the earth is true ; and it were 
more than wonderful if it had, seeing it has never yet been 
cordially embraced by the majority, nor perhaps by the 



preponderating part of any nation. Nevertheless it has 
liad its influence. This gloomy writer himself acknow 
ledges that the state of society in Europe and America, 
that is to say, in Christendom, is far preferable to what 
it is in other parts of the earth. Of the rest of the world 
he has no hope. Has Christianity done nothing in thU 
case 1 That thousands in different nations are, by a cordial 
belief of it, rendered sober, just, disinterested, and peace 
able, and that the state of society at large is greatly 
meliorated, have, I hope, been already proved.* To be 
lieve then in the future accomplishment of the foregoing 
prophecies is only to believe that what is already effected 
in individuals will be extended to the general body of 
mankind, or, at least, to such a proportion of them as shall 
be sufficient to give a preponderance in human affairs. 

Moreover, the same book which declares that the king 
doms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord 
and of his Christ, has foretold, in great variety of language, 
the downfal of the papal antichrist, and that by means of 
the same powers from which its dominion was first de 
rived. We have, in part, seen the fulfilment of the one, 
and live in expectation of the other. We are not ignorant 
of the evil designs of infidels ; but we believe that God 
is above them, and that they are only instruments in his 
hand in the fulfilment of his word. "While, therefore, we 
feel for the miseries of mankind, occasioned by the dread 
ful devastations of war, we sorrow not as those who have 
no hope ; but arc persuaded that all things, even now, 
are working together for good ; and while we pity indi 
vidual sufferers, we cannot join the whining lamentations 
of interested men " Alas, alas, that great city !" On the 
contrary, we feel disposed to join the song of the heavenly 
host, " Alleluia ; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and 
power, unto the Lord our God ; for true and righteous 
are his judgments. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give 
honour to him ; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and 
his bride hath made herself ready." 

If, according to the doctrine of Bolingbroke, Volney, 
and other deists, we knew no other source of virtue and 
happiness than self-love, we should often be less happy 
than we are. Our blessedness is bound up with that of 
Christ and his followers throughout the world. His friends 
are our friends, and his enemies our enemies ; they that 
seek his life seek ours ; the prosperity of his kingdom is 
our prosperity, and we prefer it above our chief joy. From 
the public stock of blessedness being thus considered as 
the common property of every individual, arises a great 
and constant influx of enjoyment. Hence it is that, in 
times when temporal comforts fail, or family troubles de 
press, or a cloud hangs over our particular connexions, or 
death threatens to arrest us in a course of pleasing labour, 
we have still our resources of consolation. ' Affairs with 
me are sinking ; but he must increase.' ' My house is 
not so with God ; but the kingdom of my Lord shall be 
established for ever.' ' His interest sinks in this congre 
gation ; but it rises elsewhere.' ' I die ; but God will 
surely visit you ! ' Such is the heritage of the servants of 
the Lord ; and such the blessedness of those whose chief 
desire it is " that they may see the good of his chosen, 
that they may rejoice in the gladness of his nation, and 
that they may glory with his inheritance." 

Chap. V. VI. 



28 



FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY. 



PART II. 



THE HARMONY OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION CONSIDERED AS AN EVIDENCE 

OF ITS DIVINITY. 



IF Christianity be an imposture, it may, like all other im 
postures, be detected. Falsehood may always be proved to 
clash with fact, with reason, or with itself; and often with 
them all. If, on the contrary, its origin be Divine, it may 
be expected to bear the character of consistency, which 
distinguishes every other Divine production. If the Scrip 
tures can be proved to harmonize with historic fact, with 
truth, with themselves, and with sober reason, they must, 
considering what they profess, be Divinely inspired, and 
Christianity must be of God. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE HARMONY OF SCRIPTURE WITH HISTORIC FACT 
EVINCED BY THE FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY. 

IF the pretence which the Scriptures make to Divine in 
spiration be unfounded, it can be no very difficult under 
taking to prove it so. The sacred writers, besides abound 
ing in history, doctrine, and morality, have dealt largely 
in prophecy and this not in the manner of the heathen 
priests, who made use of dark and dubious language. Their 
meaning, in general, is capable of being understood, even 
at this distance of time, and, in many instances, cannot be 
mistaken. The dispute, therefore, between believers and 
unbelievers, is reducible to a short issue. If Scripture 
prophecy be Divinely inspired, it will be accomplished ; if 
it be imposture, it will not. 

Let us suppose that by digging in the earth a chest were 
discovered containing a number of ancient curiosities, and, 
among other things, a tablet inscribed with calculations of 
the most remarkable eclipses that should take place for a 
great while to come. These calculations arc examined and 
found to correspond with fact for more than two thousand 
years past. The inspectors cannot agree, perhaps, in de 
ciding who was the author, whether it had not gone 
through several hands when it was deposited in the chest, 
and various other questions ; but does this invalidate the 
trutli of the calculations, or dimmish the value of the 
tablet 1 

It cannot be objected that events have been predicted 
from mere political foresight which have actually come to 
pass ; for though this may have been the case in a few 
instances, wherein causes have already existed which 
afforded ground for the conclusion, yet it is impossible that 
the successive changes and revolutions of empires, some of 
which were more than a thousand years distant, and de 
pended on ten thousand unknown incidents, should be the 
objects of human speculation. 

Mr. Paine seems to feel the difficulty attending his cause 
on this subject. His method of meeting it is not by 
soberly examining the agreement or disagreement of pro 
phecy and history : that would not have suited his pur 
pose. But, as though he had made a wonderful discovery, 
he in the first place goes about to prove that the prophets 
wrote poetry ; and hence would persuade us that a prophet 
was no other than an ancient Jewish bard. That the pro 
phecies are what is now called poetic, Mr. Paine need not 
have given himself the trouble to prove, as no person of 
common understanding can doubt it : but the question is, 
Did not these writings, in whatever kind of language they 
were written, contain predictions of future events? yea, 

* Age of Reason, Part II. pp. 53. 44. 47. 

+ Lowth's translation of Isaiah xxi. 2. Other prophecies of the 



and of the most notorious and remarkable events, such as 
should form the grand outlines of history in the following 
ages ? Mr. Paine will not deny this ; nor will he soberly 
undertake to disprove that many of those events have 
already come to pass. He will, however, take a shorter 
method a method more suited to his turn of mind. He 
will call the prophets " impostors and liars ; he will 
roundly assert, without a shadow of proof, and in defiance 
of historic evidence, that the prediction concerning Cyrus 
was written after the event took place ; he will labour to 
pervert and explain away some few of the prophecies, and 
get rid of the rest by calling the writer " a false prophet," 
and his production " a book of falsehoods." * These are 
weapons worthy of Mr. Paine's warfare. But why all 
this rage against an ancient bard * Just now a prophet 
was only a poet, and the idea of a predictor of future events 
was not included in the meaning of the term. It seems, 
however, by this time, that Mr. Paine has found a number 
of predictions in the prophetic writings, to dismiss which 
he is obliged, as is usual with him in cases of emer 
gency, to summon all his talents of misrepresentation and 
abuse. 

I take no particular notice of this writer's attempts to 
explain away a few of the predictions of Isaiah and other 
prophets. Those who have undertaken to answer him 
have performed this part of the business. I shall only 
notice that he has not dared to meet the great body of 
Scripture prophecy, or fairly to look it in the face. 

To say nothing of the predictions of the destruction of 
mankind by a flood ; of that of Sodom and Gomorrah by 
fire ; of the descendants of Abraham being put in posses 
sion of Canaan within a limited period ; and of various 
other events, the history as well as the prophecy of which 
is confined to the Scriptures ; let us review those predic 
tions, the fulfilment of which has been recorded by histo 
rians who knew nothing of them, and, consequently, could 
have no design in their favour. 

It is worthy of notice that sacred history ends where 
profane history, that part of it at least which is commonly 
reckoned authentic, begins. Prior to the Babylonish cap 
tivity, the Scriptural writers were in the habit of narrating 
the leading events of their country, and of incidentally in 
troducing those of the surrounding nations ; but shortly 
after this time the great changes in the world began to be 
recorded by other hands, as Herodotus, Xenophon, and 
others. From this period they dealt chiefly in prophecy, 
leaving it to common historians to record its fulfilment. 

Mr. Paine says the Scripture prophecies are " a book 
of falsehoods." Let us examine this charge. Isaiah, 
above a hundred years before the captivity, predicted the 
destruction of the Babylonish empire by the Medes and 
Persians, and Judah's consequent deliverance. " The 
plunderer is plundered, and the destroyer is destroyed ; 
Go up, O Elam ; form the siege, O Media ! I have put 
an end to all her vexations." f Ask Herodotus and 
Xenophon, Was this a falsehood 1 

Daniel, fourteen years before the establishment of the 
Medo-Persian dominion by the taking of Babylon, de 
scribed that dominion with its conquests, and the supe 
riority of the Persian influence to that of the Median, 
under the symbol of a ram with two horns. " I lifted up 
mine eyes and saw, and, behold, there stood before the 
river a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were 
high ; but one was higher than the other, and the higher 
came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and 
northward, and southward ; so that no beasts might stand 

same event may be seen in Isa. xiii. ; xiv. ; xxi. ; xliii. 1417 ; xliv. 
28 ; xlv. 14 ; xlvii. ; Jer. xxv. 1226 ; 1. ; li. ; Hab. ii. 



FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY. 






before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of 
his hand ; hut lie did according to his will, and became 
great." This is expounded as follows: " The ram which 
thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and 
Persia." * Ask the aforementioned historians, Was this 
a falsehood t 

The same Daniel, at the same time, two hundred and 
twenty-three years before the event, predicted the over 
throw of this Medo-Persian dominion, by the arms of 
(Jivere, under the command of Alexander; and described 
tin- latter government under the symbol of a he-goat, with 
a notable horn between his eyes. " As I was considering, 
behold, a he-goat came from the west on the face of the 
whole earth, and touched not the ground : and the goat 
had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the 
ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before 
the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And 
I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved 
with eholer against him, and smote the ram, and brake 
his two horns ; and there was no power in the ram to 
stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, 
and stamped upon him ; and there was none that could 
deliver the ram out of his hand." The exposition of this 
vision follows: " The rough goat is the king of Grecia ; 
and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first 
kinir-"t Ask Diodorus Siculus, Plutarch, and other his- 
torinus of those times, Was this a falsehood t 

The same Daniel, at the same time, two hundred and 
thirty years before the event, predicted the death of Alex 
ander, and the division of his empire among four of his 
principal commanders, each of whom had an extensive 
dominion. " The he-goat waxed very great ; and when 
he was strong, the great horn was broken ; and for it came 
up four notable ones, toward the four winds of heaven." 
The interpretation of this was as follows : " Now that be 
ing broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms 
shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." J 
Ask the aforementioned historians of those times, Was 
this a falsehood 1 

The same Daniel, at the same time, three hundred and 
eighty years before the event, foretold the outrageous reign 
and sudden death of Antiochtis Epiphanes, king of Syria : 
particularly, that by flattery and treachery he should ac 
complish his end ; and, on account of the degeneracy of 
the Jews, should be permitted for a time to ravage their 
country, interrupt their ordinary course of worship, pro 
fane their temple, and persecute, even to death, those who 
refused to comply with his heathen abominations ; but 
that, in the midst of his career, he should be cut off by a 
sudden visitation from heaven. " And out of one of them 
(the four branches of the Grecian empire) came forth a 
little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the 
south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven ; and it 
cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, 
nnd stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even 
to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice 
was t;iken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast 
down. And an host was given him against the daily sacri- 
lirr by reason of transgression, nnd it cast down the truth 
to the ground ; and it practised, and prospered." Of this 
the following is the exposition : " In the latter time of 
their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, 
a kinir of tieire countenance, and understanding dark sen 
tences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but 
not by his own power ; and he shall destroy wonderfully, 
and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the 
mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also 
he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand ; and he shall 
magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy 
many : he shall also stand up against the prince of princes ; 
but he shall be broken without hand." $ 

Daniel also foretells, in the eleventh chapter of his pro 
phecies, the wars between this king of Syria and Ptolemy 
Philometor king of Egypt, with the interposition of the 

Dan. viii. 3, 4. 20. ?ee also Chap. tii. ft. 

+ DM. TiH.ft-7.Sl. See alto Chap. xi. 2 4. 

} l>n. viii. x. _>.>. COB also Chap. \ii. 0. 

\ Dan. viii. 9-12. 23 >. 

l! See Pridcaiix's Connexion, Part I. Book II. VIII. Part II. Book 



Romans, whose ambassadors should come over in ships 
from Chittim, and compel him to desist ; also that, bring 
thus disappointed of his object in Ki:\|>t, IK- should retain 
full of wrath and indignation to his own land, and wroak 
his vengeance upon the Jews, whose country lay in his 
way, though they had done nothing to offend him* I w il| 
not say, ask Josephus, Diodorus Siculus, and Polybius if 
these were falsehoods ; ask Porphyry, a professed enemy 
to the Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and Ne\\ . 
incut, and who wrote against them about the middle of 
the third century. He has proved, from the testimony of 
six or seven historians of those times, that these predictions 
were all exactly fulfilled ; and, like Mr. Paine by the pro 
phecies concerning Cyrus, is driven, merely on account of 
tlicir being true, to fly in the face of historic evidence, and 
maintain that they could not be the production of Daniel, 
but must have been written by some Jew after the events 
took place. || 

As, in the eighth and eleventh chapters of his prophe 
cies, Daniel has foretold the Persian and Grecian govern 
ments, with the subdivisions of the latter, and how they 
should affect the Jewish people; so, in the seventh chap 
ter, he has, in connexion with them, foretold the govern 
ment of Rome. This singular empire he represents as 
exceeding all that had gone before in power and terror ; 
and as that of Greece, soon after the death of Alexander, 
should be divided into four kingdoms, signified by the four 
heads of the third beast, so this, it is foretold, should be, 
at the time of its dissolution, divided into ten kingdoms, 
which are signified by the ten horns of the fourth beast. 
Ask universal history, Is this a falsehood 1 Those who 
adopt the cause of Porphyry must, in this instance, desert 
his hypothesis ; they cannot say that this part of the pro 
phecy was written by some Jew after the event took place, 
seeing Porphyry himself has acknowledged its existence 
some hundreds of years before it was accomplished. 

The predictions of this prophet did not end here: he 
at the same time foretold that there should arise among 
the ten kingdoms, into which the Roman empire should 
be broken, a power diverse from all the rest, " a little 
horn" which should "speak great words against the Most 
High, and wear out the saints of the Most High ; " and 
that this power should continue until " a time, and times, 
and the dividing of time." At the end of this period, 
he adds, " the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away 
his dominion, to consume and to destroy unto the end." 
Are these falsehoods 1 Let the history of the last twelve 
hundred years, and the present state of the papal hierarchy, 
determine. 

Passing over the predictions of the Messiah, whose birth, 
place of nativity, time of appearance, manner of life, doc 
trine, miracles, death, and resurrect ion were each par 
ticularly pointed out,f let us examine a few examples 
from the New Testament. Our Lord Jesus Christ fore 
told the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and 
limited the time of its accomplishment to the then "pre 
sent generation."** Ask Josephus, the Jewish historian, 
Is this a falsehood 1 

It was intimated, at the same time, that the Jewish people 
should not only fall by the edge of the sword, but that 
great numbers of them should be " led away captive into 
all nations;" and that "Jerusalem should be trodden 
down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles should 
be fulfilled."ft Ask the present descendants of that un 
happy people, Is this a falsehood 1 

The apostle of the Gentiles foretold that there should 
be " a falling away," or a grand apostacy, in the Christian 
church ; wherein " the man of sin should be revealed, 
even the son of perdition ; who would oppose and exalt 
himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; 
and who as God would sit in the temple of God, showing 
himself to he God."JJ Also in his Epistle to Timothy : 
" Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times 
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing 
spirits, and doctrines of devils ; speaking lies in hypocrisy ; 

III., wlirrr the accomplishment of all the foregoing event* is clearly 
narrated, and the authorities cited. 

H l*n. ix 6; Micahv. 2; Dan. ix. 2027; Isa. xlii. 2; xxxv. 5.C; 
liii. ; Psal. xvi. 10, 11. Matt. xxiv. 135; Luke xxi. 

H Luke xxi. 24. 3 Thcss. ii. 3, 4. 



30 



CORRESPONDENCE OF SCRIPTURE WITH TRUTH. 



having their conscience seared with a hot iron ; forbidding 
to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which 
God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of 
them which believe and know the truth."* 

A large proportion of the Apocalypse of John respects 
this grand apostacy, and the corrupt community in which 
it was accomplished. He describes it with great variety 
of expression. On some accounts it is represented under 
the form of a " city," on others of a " beast," and on 
others of a " woman sitting upon a beast." That we 
might be at no loss to distinguish it on its appearance, it is 
intimated that it should not be so much a civil as an apos 
tate ecclesiastical power : it is a " harlot," opposed to the 
bride, the Lamb's wife ; that it should greatly abound in 
wealth and worldly grandeur : " The woman was arrayed 
in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious 
stones, and pearls ; that its dominion should not be con 
fined to its own immediate territories : " Power was given 
it over all kingdoms and tongues and nations ;" that its 
authority should not be derived from its own conquest, but 
from the voluntary consent of a number of independent 
kingdoms to come under its 'yoke : " The kings of the 
earth have one mind, and shall give their power and 
strength unto the beast;" that it should be distinguished 
by its blasphemies, idolatries, and persecuting spirit : 
" Upon her were the names of blasphemy. They should 
make an image of the beast, and as many as would not 
worship the image of the beast were to be killed. And 
the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints ;" 
that its persecutions should extend to such a length as for 
no man to be allowed the common rights of men, unless 
lie became subject to it : " No man might buy or sell, save 
he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the 
number of his name ;" that its power should continue for 
"a time, times, and half a time, forty and two months, or 
one thousand two hundred and sixty days ; " during which 
long period God's witnesses should prophesy in sackcloth, 
be driven as into a wilderness, and, as it were, slain, and 
their bodies lie unburied : finally, that they who gave it 
an existence should be the instruments in taking it away : 
" The kings," or powers, " of the earth shall hate the 
whore, and burn her flesh with fire." f Whether all, or 
any part of this, be falsehood, let history and observation 
determine. 

It has often been observed, that the prophecies of the 
Messiah were so numerous and explicit, that, at the time of 
his appearance, there was a general expectation of it, not 
only in Judea, but in all the neighbouring nations ; and is 
not the same thing observable at this time, of the fall of 
antichrist, the conversion of the Jews, and the general 
spread of the gospel ? 

Once more : The sacred writers have predicted the op 
position which Christianity should encounter, and de 
scribed the characters from whom it should proceed : " In 
the last days," say they, "perilous times shall come. For 
men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, 
proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, 
unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false 
accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are 
good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure n^re 
than lovers of God." Again, " There shall be mockers 
in the last time, who shall walk after their own ungodly 
lusts ; filthy dreamers, who defile the flesh, despise do 
minion, and speak evil of dignities ; raging waves of the 
sea, foaming out their own shame ; wandering stars, to 
whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." J 
Let Mr. Paine, and other infidels, consider well the above 
picture, and ask their own consciences, Is this a falsehood ? 

Bishop Newton, in his Dissertations, has clearly evinced 
the fulfilment of several of these and other Scripture pro 
phecies ; and has shown that some of them are fulfilling at 
this day. To those Dissertations I refer the reader. 
Enough has been said to enable us to determine which 
production it is that deserves to be called " a book of 
falsehoods," the prophecies of Scripture, or the Age of 
Reason. 



1 Tim iv. 13 



t Kcv. xi. ; xiii. ; xvii. 



CHAPTER II. 

THE HARMONY OF SCRIPTURE WITH TRUTH EVINCED FROM 
ITS AGREEMENT WITH THE DICTATES OF AN ENLIGHT 
ENED CONSCIENCE, AND THE RESULT OF THE CLOSEST 
OBSERVATION. 

IF a brazen mirror were found in some remote, uninhabit 
ed island, it might be a doubtful matter how it came 
thither ; but if it properly reflected objects, there could be 
no doubt of its being a real mirror. 

The Bible was written with the professed design of being 
"profitable for reproof;" nor was there ever a book so 
adapted to the purpose, or so effectual in its operation in 
disclosing the inward workings of the human mind. 
Thousands can bear witness from experience, that it is 
" quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, 
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, 
and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 
Its entrance into the mind gives light, and light which 
discovers the works of darkness. Far from flattering the 
vices of mankind, it charges, without ceremony, every son 
of Adam with possessing the heart of an apostate. This 
charge it brings home to the conscience, not only by its 
pure precepts, and awful threatenings, but oftentimes by 
the very invitations and promises of mercy, which, while 
they cheer the heart with lively hope, carry conviction by 
their import to the very soul. In reading other books you 
may admire the ingenuity of the writer ; but here your 
attention is turned inward. Read it but seriously, and 
your heart will answer to its descriptions. It will touch 
the secret springs of sensibility ; and if you have any in 
genuousness of mind towards God, the tears of grief, 
mingled with those of hope and gratitude, will, ere you are 
aware, trickle from your eyes. 

To whatever particular vices you may have been addict 
ed, here you will discover your likeness ; and that, not as 
by a comic representation on the theatre, which, where it 
reclaims one person by shaming him out of his follies, cor 
rupts a thousand ; but in a way that will bring conviction 
to your bosom. 

" Come see a man which told me all things that ever I 
did: is not this the Christ?" Such was the reasoning of 
the woman of Samaria ; and who could have reasoned 
better 1 ? That which makes manifest must be light. But 
this reasoning is applicable to other things as well as to the 
Messiahship of Jesus. No man can forbear saying of that 
book, that doctrine, or that preaching which tells him all 
that ever he did, Is not this the truth? The satisfaction 
afforded by such evidence approaches near to intuitive cer 
tainty ; it is having the witness in ourselves. 

Should it be objected, that though this may satisfy pur 
own minds, yet it can afford no evidence to others ; I 
answer, It is true that they who shun the light cannot be 
supposed to possess the same evidence of its being what it 
is, as those who have come to it that their deeds may be 
made manifest ; yet even they, if at all acquainted with the 
Bible, must be aware that the likenesses which it draws 
are, in a considerable degree, their own. It is not to 
serious Christians only that the gospel is a mirror. Many 
who never look into that perfect law of liberty from choice 
and delight, so as to be blessed in their work, but only 
glance at it in a transient and occasional way, yet perceive 
so much of their own character in it as to be convinced 
that it is right, and that they are wrong. The secret con 
viction of thousands who hear the word, and do it not, re 
sembles that of Pharaoh, " The Lord is righteous, and I 
and my people are wicked." The impressions of such 
people, it is true, are frequently short in their duration ; 
like a man who seeth his natural face in a glass, they go 
away, and straightway forget what manner of persons they 
are : but the aversion which they discover seriously to re 
sume the subject places it beyond all reasonable doubt, that, 
let their hearts be as they may, the Scriptures have com 
mended themselves to their consciences. They have felt 
the point of this two-edged sword, and are not disposed to 
renew the encounter. That this is the case not only with 

* 2 Tim. iii. 1 4; Jude. 






CORRESPONDENCE OF SCRIPTURE WITH TRUTH. 



31 



nominal Christians, but with great numbers of pr< 
deists, is mnnilVst from the acknowledgments of such men as 
the Ea:l of Iloehester, and many others who hare relented 
on the near approach of death. This is often a time in 
which conscience must and will be heard ; and, too often 
for the happiness of surviving acquaintances, it proclaims 
to the world that the grand source of their hatred to the 
Bible has been that for which Ahab hated Micaiah its 
prophesying no good concerning them. 

The Scriptures are a mirror in which we see not only 
individual characters, our own and others, but the state of 
things as they move on in the great world. They show us 
the spring-head whence all the malignant streams of idol 
atry, atheism, corruption, persecution, war, and every other 
evil originate ; and, by showing us the origin of these de 
structive maladies clearly instruct us wherein must consist 
their cure. 

It has already been observed,* that Christian morality is 
summed up in the love of God and our neighbour, and that 
these principles, carried to their full extent, would render 
the world a paradise. But the Scriptures teach us that 
man is a rebel against his Maker; that his carnal mind is 
enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be ; that instead of loving God, or even 
man, in the order which is required, men are become 
lovers of their own selves," and neither God nor man 
is regarded but as they are found necessary to subserve 
their wishes. 

This single principle of human depravity, supposing it to 
be true, will fully account for all the moral disorders in the 
world ; and the actual existence of those disorders, unless 
they can be better accounted for, must go to prove the 
truth of this principle, and, by consequence, of the Chris 
tian system which rests upon it. 

We are affected in considering the idolatry of so great a 
part of the human race, but we are not surprised at it. If 
men be destitute of the love of God, it is natural to sup 
pose they will endeavour to banih him from their thoughts, 
and, provided the state of society will admit of it, from 
their worship ; substituting gods more congenial with their 
inclinations, and in the worship of which they can in 
dulge themselves without fear or control. 

Neither are we surprised at the practical atheism which 
abounds among unbelievers, and even among nominal 
Christians, in European nations. If the state of things be 
such as to render gross idolatry inadmissible, still, if aver 
sion to God predominate, it will show itself in a neglect of 
all worship, and of all serious conversation, or devout exer 
cises ; in a wish to think there is no God, and no here 
after ; and in endeavours to banish every thing of a re 
ligious nature from society. Or if this cannot be, and any 
thing relating to such subjects become matter of discussion, 
they will be so explained away, as that nothing shall be 
left which can approve itself to an upright heart. The 
holiness of the Divine character will be kept out of sight, 
his precepts disregarded, and morality itself made to con- 
list in something destitute of all true virtue. 

We are not surprised at the corruption which Christianity 
has undergone. Christianity itself, as we have already 
seen, foretold it ; and the doctrine of human depravity 
fully accounts for it. When the Christian religion was 
adopted by the state, it is natural to suppose there were 
great numbers of unprincipled men who professed it ; and 
where its leading characters in any age arc of this descrip 
tion, it will certainly be corrupted. The pure doctrine of 
Christ is given up in favour of some flesh-pleasing system, 
the holy precepts of Christian morality are lowered to the 
standard of ordinary practice, and the worship and ordi 
nances of Christ arc mingled with superstition, and model 
led to a worldly temper. It was thus that Judaism was 
corrupted by the old Pharisees, and Christianity by the 
papal hierarchy. 

The success with which evil men and seducers meet, in 

Part I. Chap. III. 

+ Men are much more easily deceived in these matters than in the 
ordinary concerns of life. If a London merchant were to open ware- 
- in different part* of the city, and make it his business to tra 
duce the characters and commodities of all other merchants; if his 
opposition were directed especially against men of probity and emi 
nence, whose situations were contiguous to his own ; in flne, if the only 
traders in the kingdom who could obtain his good word were certain 



propagating false doctrine, is no more than, from the pre 
sent state of things, may be expected. So long as a large 
proportion of the professors of Christianity receive not the 
love of the truth, error will be certain to meet with a wel 
come reception. The grossest impostor has only to ad 
vance a system suited to corrupt nature, to assert it with 
effrontery, and to natter his adherents with being the fa 
vourites of heaven, and he will be followed.f 

The persecutions which have been carried on against re 
ligion are grievous to humanity, and equally repugnant to 
justice and to good policy ; but they arc not in the least 
surprising. There was not a truth more prominent in our 
Saviour's addresses to his followers than this, that, having 
received his word, the world would hate them, because 
they were not of the world, as he was not of the world. 
When he sent them forth to preach the gospel, it was " as 
sheep among wolves ;" and they were treated accordingly. 
When he took leave of them, previously to his death, he 
left them his peace, as knowing that in the world they 
should have tribulation. All this was no more than might 
be expected ; for if it be the character of true religion, 
that it sets itself against every vicious propensity of the 
human heart, it is natural to suppose that every one who 
is under the dominion of such propensity will feel averse 
from true religion, and from those who adhere to it. The 
manner in which mankind have stood affected toward; 
godly men has been nearly uniform from the beginning. 
Cain slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him ! Be 
cause his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. 
Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian mocking : as 
he that was born after the flesh then persecuted him that 
was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Why was 
Jerusalem a burdensome stone to the nations t Why were 
they continually forming leagues to root out its remem 
brance from the earth t The same spirit that was dis 
covered by Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon to 
wards Israel, was apparent in Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem, 
and their companions towards Judith ; and the part acted 
by the Horonitc, the Ammonite, and the Arabian, was 
afterwards reacted, with additional zeal, by Herod and 
Pontius Pilate, and the governors and people of Israel. 
Those who could agree in nothing else could agree in this. 
The persecutions of pagan and papal Home, and of all 
who have symbolized with her, have been only a continu 
ation of the same system ; and the descriptions which de- 
istical historians give of these works of darkness, notwith 
standing their pretended regard to religious liberty, bear 
witness that they allow the deeds of their fathers, and in 
herit their dispositions. The same malignant spirit which 
was discovered by the heathens towards the ancient Israel 
ites is discoverable in all the writings of unbelievers towards 
that people to this day. It is true, they are more recon 
ciled to the modern Jews ; and for a very plain reason : 
they feel them to be near akin to themselves. Herod and 
Pilate were made friends by the crucifixion of Christ. 
Since that time, the old enmity has been transferred to 
believing Gentiles, who, being grafted into the Jewish 
olive, and partaking of its advantages, partake also of its 
persecutions ; and by how much the Christian church, at 
any period, has exceeded the Jewish in purity and spirit 
uality, by so much more force has the wrath of a wicked 
world burned against it. 

After all the pains that unbelievers take to shift the 
charge of persecution, and to lay it at the door of Chris 
tianity, it is manifest, to an observant eye, that there is a 
deep-rooted enmity in all wicked men, whether they be 
pagans, papists, protestants, or deists, towards all godly 
men, of every nation, name, and denomination. This en 
mity, it is true, is not suffered to operate according to its 
native tendency. He who holdeth the winds in his hand 
restrains it. Men are withheld by laws, by policy, by in 
terests, by education, by respect, by regard founded on 
qualities distinct from religious, and by various other 

agents whom he had stationed in different parts of the country for the 
purpose of retailing his wares ; would not his design* be evident .' He 
might puff, and pretend to have the good of the public much at heart ; 
but the public would despise him, as a man whose object was a for 
tune, and whose practices evinced that he would hesitate at no means 
to accomplish his end. Yet, in religion, such deceptions inny be 
practised with success. 



32 



CORRESPONDENCE OF SCRIPTURE WITH TRUTH. 



things. There are certain conjunctions of interests, espe 
cially, which occasionally require a temporary cessation of 
hostilities ; and it may seem on such occasions as if wicked 
men were ashamed of their animosities, and were all 011 a 
sudden become friendly to the followers of Christ. Thus 
at the revolution, in 1688, those who for more than twenty 
years had treated the nonconformists with unrelenting 
severity, when they found themselves in danger of being 
deprived of their places by a popish prince, courted their 
friendship, and promised not to persecute them any more. 
And thus, at the commencement of the French revolution, 
deists, catholics, and protestants, who were engaged in 
one political cause, seemed to have forgotten their resent 
ments, all amicably uniting together in the opening of a 
place for protestant worship. But let not the servants of 
Christ imagine that any temporary conjunction of interests 
will extinguish the ancient enmity. It may seem to be 
so for a time ; and all things being under the control of 
Providence, such a time may be designed as a season of 
respite for the faithful ; but when self-interest has gained 
its end, if other worldly considerations do not interpose, 
things will return to their former channel. Th? enmity 
is not dead, but sleepeth. 

Finally, The tears which, from the earliest period of his 
tory, have desolated the earth, grievous as they are to a 
feeling mind, contain in them nothing surprising. . The 
Scriptures, with singular propriety, describe the world as 
a great sea, which is ever casting up its mire and dirt ; 
and great conquerors as so many wild beasts, which, in 
succession, rise from its troubled waters, and devour the 
inhabitants of the earth.* Nor is this all : they describe 
not only the fact, but the cause of it. Wars among men, 
as has been already stated, f have their immediate causes in 
"the lusts which war in their members;" but, besides 
this, the Scripture leads us to a cause more remote, and of 
still greater importance. They denominate the sword of 
war " the sword of the Lord," and constantly intimate that 
it is one of those means by which he " pleadeth with all 
flesh." A part of the curse entailed on men for their de 
parture from the living God consists in this, that, till they 
return to him, they shall not be able, for any length of 
time, to maintain amity among themselves. It appears to 
be one of those laws by which God governs the world, 

THAT PEOPLE ENGAGED IN AN EVIL CAUSE, HOWEVER HAR 
MONIOUS THEY MAY BE IN THE OUTSET, SHALL PRESENTLY 

BE AT VARIANCE. Thus it was between Abimelech and 
the men of Shechem, as Jotham had forewarned them in 
his parable. Though at first they appeared to rejoice in 
each other ; yet, in a little time, " fire came out from 
Abimelech and devoured the men of Shechem, and fire 
came out from the men of Shechem and devoured Abime 
lech. "J Such is commonly the issue of all unprincipled 
confederacies, traitorous conspiracies, illegal combinations, 
and illicit amours. Union, in order to be lasting, requires 
to be cemented with honour. "Where this is wanting, 
however appearances may for a while be flattering, all will 
prove transitory : mutual jealousies will produce mutual 
enmities, which are certain to issue in confusion and every 
evil work. These remarks are no less applicable to the 
whole human race than to particular parts of it. Men 
have revolted from God, and yet think to live in. harmony 
among themselves. God, in just judgment, appears to 
have determined the contrary ; and that, till they return 
to him, they shall be given up to an evil spirit towards 
each other, and to the ravages of a succession of ambitious 
leaders, who shall destroy them in great numbers from the 
face of the earth. It is morally impossible, indeed, that it 
should be otherwise ; for the same principle which induces 
them to renounce the Divine government dissolves the bands 
of human society. Supreme self-love is the origin of both, 
and is sufficient to account for all the disorder in the 
universe. 

Candid reader, review the subject of this chapter. In 
the last, we traced the agreement of the Holy Scriptures 
with historic fact ; in this, we have seen their correspond 
ence with living truth, or with things as they actually exist, 
in the mind and in the world. Similar arguments might 

Dan. vii. + p ar t I. chap. VII. 

t Judg. ix. 

\ See Blackwall's Sacred Classics. Also Mclmoth's Sublime and 



also have been drawn from the characters of believers and 
unbelievers. Not many wise, not many mighty, not many 
noble were called in the early ages of Christianity ; and it 
has been the same in every age. To the Jews the gospel 
was from the first a stumbling-block, and to philosophers 
foolishness ; and such it continues to this day. The ex 
istence of the Jews as a distinct people, their dispersion, 
their attachment to the Old Testament and rejection of 
the New, their expectation of a Messiah, their acknow 
ledgment of the truth of the historical facts concerning our 
Lord, the malignity of their sp irit ; in a word, their exact 
resemblance, even at this remote period, to the picture 
drawn of them in the New Testament, are facts which can 
not be controverted. Judge impartially : Is there any 
thing hi all this that bears the marks of imposture 1 A 
connoisseur will distinguish between paintings taken from 
life, and such as a:e the work of mere imagination. An 
accurate judge of moral painting will do the same. If the 
Scriptures gave false descriptions of men and things, if 
they flattered the vices of mankind, or exhibited the moral 
state of the world contrary to well-known fact, you 
would conclude them to be a work of falsehood. On the 
other hand, if they speak of things as they are, if con 
science echo to their charges, and fact comport with their 
representations, they must have been taken from life ; and 
you must conclude them to be what they profess to be 
a work of truth. And, since the objects described are 
many of them beyond the ken of human observation, you 
must conclude that they arc not only a work of truth, but 
what they also profess to be the true sayings of God. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE HARMONY OF SCRIPTURE WITH ITS OWN PROFESSIONS 
ARGUED FROM THE SPIRIT AND STYLE IN WHICH IT IS 
WRITTEN. 

IF the Scriptures be what they profess to be the word of 
God, it may be presumed that the spirit which they 
breathe, and even the style in which they are composed, 
will be different from what can be found in any other pro 
ductions. It is true that, having been communicated 
through human mediums, we may expect them, in a mea 
sure, to be humanized ; the peculiar tum and talents of 
each writer will be visible, and this will give them the 
character of variety ; but, amidst all this variety, a mind 
capable of discerning the Divine excellence will plainly 
perceive in them the finger of God. 

"With respect to style, though it is not on the natural, 
but the moral, or rather the holy beauties of Scripture that 
I would lay the principal stress ; yet something may be 
observed of the other. So far as the beauty of language 
consists in its freedom from affectation, and its conformity 
to the nature of the subject, it may be expected that a 
book written by holy men, inspired of God, will be pos 
sessed of this excellence. A divinely-inspired production 
will not only be free from such blemishes as arise from 
vanity, and other evil dispositions of the mind, but will 
abound in those beauties which never fail to attend the 
genuine exercises of modesty, sensibility, and godly sim 
plicity. It will reject the meretricious ornaments of art, 
but it will possess the more substantial beauties of nature. 
That this is true of the Scriptures has been proved by 
several able writers. 

Mr. Paine, however, can see nothing great, majestic, or 
worthy of God, in any part of the Bible. Among the 
numerous terms of reproach with which he honours it, he is 
pleased to censure the writings of Isaiah as " bombast, be 
neath the genius of a school-boy ;" and to compare the 
command of the great Creator in the first chapter of Gene 
sis, " Let there be light," to the " imperative manner of 
speaking used by a conjuror. "|| This Avriter has given us 
no example of the bombast from Isaiah. Bombast is that 
species of writing in which great swelling words are used 

Beautiful of Scripture ; to which is added Dn-ight's Dissertation on the 
Poetry, History, and Eloquence of the Bible. 
|| Age of Reason, Part II. p. 105. Note. 



THE SPIRIT AND STYLE OF SCRIPTURE. 



33 



to convey little ideas. But is it thus in the writings of 
Isaiah t " And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, 
holy, holy is the Lord of hosts ; the whole earth is full of 
his glory. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow 
of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and com 
prehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed 
the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ! Who 
hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or, being his coun 
sellor, hath taught him ! With whom took he counsel, 
and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of 
judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him 
the way of understanding t Behold, the nations are as a 
drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the 
balance : behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little 
thin-. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the 
beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations 
before him are as nothing ; and they are counted to him 
less than nothing, and vanity."* Are the ideas too little, 
in these instances, for the words 1 The prophets wrote in 
a poetic style ; and how could they write otherwise t 
Poetry is the language of passion ; and such as theirs, of 
passion raised and inflamed by great and affecting objects. 
Their language is not that of common poetry, but, as an 
elegant writer expresses it, " It is the burst of inspiration." 

As to the objection against the sublimity of the passage 
in the first chapter of Genesis, it is sufficient to observe 
that there is nothing, be it ever so majestic and worthy of 
God, but a profane and ludicrous imagination may distort 
it. A rainbow may be compared to a fiddle-stick, but it 
does not follow that it is an object of equal insignificance. 
Thunder and lightning may be imitated by a character not 
less contemptible than a conjuror ; but should any one 
infer that there is nothing more grand, more awful, or 
more worthy of God, in these displays of nature, than in 
the exhibitions of a country show, he would prove himself 
to be possessed of but a small portion of either wit or 
good sense. 

I do not pretend to any great judgment in the beauties 
of composition ; but there are persons of far superior 
judgment to this writer who have expressed themselves in 
a very different language. The late Sir William Jones, 
who for learning and taste, as well as character, has left 
but few equals, thus expresses himself: " I have regularly 
and attentively read these Holy Scriptures, and am of 
opinion that this volume, independent of its Divine origin, 
contains more sublimity and beauty, more pure morality, 
more important history, and finer strains of poetry and 
eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in 
whatever age or language they may have been composed." 

The acknowledgments of Rousseau, likewise, whose 
Uste for fine writing, and whose freedom from prejudice 
in favour of Christianity, none will call in question, will 
serve to confront the assertions of Mr. Paine. After de 
claring that, as there were some proofs in favour of reve 
lation which he could not invalidate, so there were many 
objections against it which he could not resolve that he 
neither admitted nor rejected it and that he rejected only 
the obligation of submitting to it he goes on to acknow 
ledge as follows : " I will confess to you, further, that the 
majesty of the Scripture strikes me with admiration, as the 
purity of the gospel hath its influence on my heart. Pe 
ruse the works of our philosophers ; with all their pomp 
of diction, how mean how contemptible are they, com 
pared with the Scripture ! Is it possible that a book at 
once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of 
man 1 Is it possible that the sacred personage whose his 
tory it contains should be himself a mere mant Do we 
find that he assumed the air of an enthusiast or ambitious 
sectary ? What sweetness, what purity in his manners ! 
What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery ! What 
sublimity in his maxims ! What profound wisdom in his 
disburses! What presence of mind! What subtilty ! 
What truth in his replies! How great the command over 
i his passions ! Where is the man, where the philosopher, 
who could so live and die, without weakness, and without 
ostentation t Shall we suppose the evangelic history a 
men- fiction ^ Indeed, my friend, it bears not the marks 
of fiction t On the contrary, the history of Socrates, which 

Ita. vi. 3 ; xl. 13-17. 
+ World, Vol. V. pp. 215 318. 
D 



nobody presumes to doubt, is not so well attested as that 
of Jesus Christ. The Jewish authors were incapable of 
the diction, and strangers to the morality, contained in the 
Gospels ; the marks of whose truth are so striking ami in- 
vincible, that the inventor would be a more astonishing 
character than the hero."t 

Rousseau's praises of the Scripture remind us of the 
high encomiums bestowed by Balaam on the tabernacles 
of Israel. It is no unusual thing for men to admire that 
which they do not love. 

Let us examine a little more minutely the spirit in 
which the Scriptures are written. It is this which consti 
tute^ their holy beauty, distinguishes them from all other 
writings, and affords the strongest evidence of their being 
written by inspiration of God. 

In recording historical evenU, the sacred writers inrari- 
ably eye the hand of God; in some instances they entirely 
overlook second causes ; and in others, where they are 
mentioned, it is only as instruments fulfilling the Divine 
will. Events that come to pass according to the usual 
course of things, and in which an ordinary historian would 
have seen nothing Divine, are recorded by them among the 
works of the Lord : " The Lord was very angry with 
Israel, and removed them out of his sight And the Lord 
sent against Jehoiakim bands of the Chaldees, and bands 
of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of 
the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to 
destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he 
spake by his servants the prophets. Surely at the com 
mandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove 
them out of his sight for the sins of Hanasseh, according 
to all that he did ; and also for the innocent blood that he 
shed, (for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood,) which 
the Lord would not pardon." J 

In their prophecies, while they foretold the heaviest ca 
lamities upon nations, their own and others, and, viewing 
the hand of God in all, acquiesced in them, as men they 
felt tenderly for their fellow creatures, even for their ene 
mies : " My bowels, my bowels ! I am pained at my very 
heart ; my heart maketh a noise in me : I cannot hold my 
peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of 
the trumpet, the alarm of war. O thou sword of the 
Lord, how long will it be ere thou be quiet t Put up thy 
self into thy scabbard, rest, and be still." When Israel 
was exposed to calamities, all the neighbouring nations, 
who hated them on account of their religion, exulted over 
them ; but when the cup went round to them, the pro 
phets who foretold it were tenderly affected by it : " I will 
bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah : I 
will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh ; 
for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest 
is fallen : and gladness is taken away, and joy out of the 
plentiful field ; and in the vineyards there shall be no 
singing, neither shall there be shouting : the treaders shall 
tread out no wine in their presses ; I have made shouting 
to cease. Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp 
for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir-haresh." || 

The miracles which they record are distinguished from 
the signs and lying wonders of following ages, in that there 
is always to be seen in them an end worthy of God. The 
far greater part of them were works of pure compassion to 
the parties, and the whole of them of benevolence to society. 

There is nothing in the Scriptures adapted to gratify 
presumptuous speculation or idle curiosity. Such a spirit, 
on the contrary, is frequently checked, and every thing is 
directed to the renovation or improvement of the heart. 
The account given of the creation of the sun, moon, and 
stars is not intended, as Mr. Henry observes, to describe 
things " as they are in themselves, and in their own nature, 
to satisfy the curious ; but as they are in relation to thii 
earth, to which they serve as lights ; and this is enough to 
furnish us with matter for praise and thanksgiving." The 
miracles of Jesus were never performed to gratify curiosity. 
If the afflicted, or any on their behalf, present their peti 
tion, it is invariably heard and answered ; but if the Phari 
sees come and say, " Master, we would see a sign from 
thee," or if Herod " hope to see a miracle done by him," 
it is refused.S When one said to him, " Lord, are there 

i 2 King* xvii. 18 ; xxiv. 84. ) Jer. iv. 19 ; xlvii. 6. 

| IM. xri. 9-11. II Matt xii. 38 ; Luke xxiii. 8, 9. 



34 



THE SPIRIT AND STYLE OF SCRIPTURE. 



few that be saved * " he answered, " Strive to enter in at 
the strait gate ; for many, I say unto you, will seek to 
enter in, and shall not be able." * 

There is nothing in the Scriptures tending, in its own 
nature, to excite levity or folly. They sometimes deal in 
the most cutting irony ; but it is never for the sake of dis 
playing wit, or raising a laugh, but invariably for the ac 
complishment of a serious and important end. A serious 
mind finds every thing to gratify it, and nothing to offend 
it ; and even the most profligate character, unless he read 
them in search of something which he may convert into 
ridicule, is impressed with awe by the pointed and solemn 
manner in which they address him. 

It may be said of the Scriptures, and of them only, that 
they are free from affectation and vanity. You may some 
times find things of this sort described by the sacred 
writers ; but you will never discern any such spirit in the 
descriptions themselves. Yet, as men, they were subject 
to human imperfections : if, therefore, they had not been 
influenced by Divine inspiration, blemishes of this kind 
must have appeared in their writings, as well as in those 
of other men. " JBut in what instance have they assumed 
a character which does not belong to them, or discovered 
a wish to be thought more religious, more learned, or more 
accomplished in any way than they were t Nor were they 
less free from vanity than from affectation. They were as 
far from making the most of what they were, as from aim 
ing to appear what they were not. Instead of trumpeting 
their own praise, or aiming to transmit their fame to pos 
terity, several of them have not so much as put their names 
to their writings ; and those who have are generally out of 
sight. As you read their history, they seldom occur to 
your thoughts. Who thinks of the evangelists when read 
ing the four Gospels f or of Luke while reading the Acts 
of the Apostles ? Mr. Paine weaves the laurel on his own 
brows, vainly boasting that he has " written a book under 
the greatest disadvantages, which no Bible believer can 
answer ; " and that, with his axe upon his shoulder, like 
another Sennacherib, he has passed through, and cut down 
the tall cedars of our Lebanon.f But thus did not the 
sacred writers, even with regard to heathenism, because 
of the fear of God. Paul in one instance, for the sake of 
answering an important end, was compelled to speak the 
truth of himself, and to appear to boast ; yet it is easy to 
perceive how much it was against his inclination. A boaster 
and a fool were, in his account, synonymous terms. J 

The sacred writers, while they respect magistracy, and 
frown upon faction, tumult, and sedition, are nevei' known 
to flatter the great. Compare the fustian eloquence of 
Tertullus with the manly speeches of Paul. Did he flatter 
Felix 1 No ; he " reasoned of righteousness, temperance, 
and judgment to come ; and Felix trembled." Did he 
flatter Festus, or even Agrippa ? No ; the highest compli 
ment which proceeded from him was, that " he knew " 
the latter " to be expert in all customs and questions among 
the Jews," and to maintain the Divine inspiration of the 
prophets ; which declaration, with the whole of this ad 
mirable apology, contained only the words of truth and 
soberness. 

They discover no anxiety to guard against seeming in 
consistencies, either with themselves or one another. In 
works of imposture, especially where a number of persons 
are concerned, there is need of great care and caution, 
lest one part should contradict another ; and such caution 
is easily perceived. But the sacred writers appear to have 
had no such concern about them. Conscious that all they 

Luke xiii. 24. See also xxi. 5 19. 

t Age of Reason, Part II. Preface, p. vi., and p. 64. 

J 2 Cor. xii. 

? " There is one argument," says Mr. Wilberfprce, in his late ex 
cellent treatise, " which impresses my mind with particular force. 
This is the great variety of the kinds of evidence which have been 
adduced in proof of Christianity, and the confirmation thereby af 
forded of its truth : the proof from prophecy from miraclesfrom 
the character of Christ from that of his apostles from the nature 
of the doctrines of Christianity from the nature and excellence of 
her practical precepts from the accordance we have lately pointed 
out between the doctrinal and practical system of Christianity, 
whether considered each in itself, or in their mutual relation to each 
other from other species of internal evidence, afforded in the more 
abundance in proportion as the sacred records have been scrutinized 
with greater care from the accounts of contemporary, or nearly con 
temporary, writers from the impossibility of accounting, on any other 



wrote was true, they left it to prove its own consistency. 
Their productions possess consistency ; but it is not a 
studied one, nor always apparent at first sight ; it is that 
consistency- which is certain to accompany truth. 

There is an inimitable simplicity in all their toritings, 
and a feeling sense of ichat they write. They come to the 
point Avithout ceremony or preamble ; and, having told 
the truth, leave it, Avithout mingling their o\vn reflections. 
This remark is particularly exemplified by the four evan 
gelists, in narrating the treatment of their Lord. AVriters 
Avho had felt less would have said more. 

There is something in all they say Avhich leaves behind 
it a sensation produced by no other writings ; something 
peculiarly suited to the mind Avhen in its most serious 
frames, oppressed by affliction, or thoughtful about a 
future life ; something Avhich gives melancholy itself a 
charm, and produces tears more delicious to the mind than 
the most high-flavoured earthly enjoyments. By Avhat 
name shall I express it 1 It is a savour of life, a savour of 
God, an unction from the Holy One. 

Mr. Paine can see no beauty in the NBAV Testament 
narratives : to him there appears nothing but imposture, 
folly, contradiction, falsehood, and every thing that marks 
an evil cause. And I suppose he could say the same of 
the things narrated ; of the labours, tears, temptations, 
and sufferings of the Lord Jesus, and of every thing else 
in the NCAV Testament. Mr. Paine, hoAvever, is not the 
only instance wherein men have lacked understanding. 
The JCAVS saw no beauty in the Saviour that they should 
desire him ; and there are persons Avho can see no beauty 
in any of the works of God. Creation is to them a blank. 
But though " the eyes of a fool are at the ends of the 
earth," for want of objects to attract them, yet " Avisdom 
is before him that uiiderstandeth." If Mr. Paine can see 
no beauty in the sacred pages, it does not folloAv that there 
is no beauty to be seen. Let any person of candour and 
discernment read over the four evangelists, and judge 
Avhether they bear the marks of imposture. If he have 
any difficulty, it will be in preserving the character of a 
critic. Unless he be perpetually on his guard, he will in 
sensibly lose sight of the writers, and be all enamoured of 
the great object concerning which they write. In reading 
the last nine chapters of John, he will perceiA'e the Avriter 
to be deeply affected. Though a long time had elapsed 
since the events had taken place, and he was far advanced 
in years, yet his heart was manifestly overwhelmed Avith 
his subject. There is reason to think that the things Avhich 
Mr. Paine attempts to ridicule dreAv tears from his eyes 
Avhile he narrated them ; as an ingenuous mind Avill find it 
difficult to review the narratiA'e without similar sensations. 

Mr. Paine is pleased to say, " Any person that could 
read and write might haA'e Avritten such a book as the 
Bible ; " but nothing can be further from the truth. It 
were saying but little to affirm that he could not produce a 
single page or sentence that would have a similar effect. 
Stranger as he has proved himself to be to the love of God 
and righteousness, he could not communicate Avhat he 
does not feel. The croaking raven might as Avell endeaA'our 
to imitate the A-oice of the dove, or the song of the night 
ingale, as he attempt to emulate the Holy Scriptures. 
Mr. Paine's spirit is sufficiently apparent in his pages, and 
that of the sacred writers in theirs. So far from Avriting 
as they wrote, he cannot understand their writings. . That 
Avhich the Scriptures teach on this subject is sufficiently 
verified in him, and all others of his spirit : " The natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither 

supposition than that of the truth of Christianity, for its promulgation 
and early prevalence : these and other lines of argument have all 
been brought forward, and ably urged by different writers, in propor 
tion as they have struck the minds of different observers more or less 
forcibly. Now, granting that some obscure and illiterate men, residing i 
in a distant province of the lioman empire, had plotted to impose a I 
forgery upon the world ; though some foundation for the imposture I 
might, and indeed must, have been attempted to be laid ; it seems, 
at least to my understanding, morally impossible that so many dif 
ferent tpecies of proofs, and all so strong, should have lent their con 
current aid, and nave united their joint force, in the establishment of 
the falsehood. It may assist the reader in estimating the value of 
this argument to consider upon how different a footing, in this respect, 
has rested every other religious system, without exception, which wa 
ever proposed to the world, and indeed every other historical fact 
of which the truth has been at all contested." Practical View. &c. pp. 
361363. Third Edition. 









THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST CONSISTENT WITH REASON. 



35 



can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned."* 
As easily might the loveliness of chastity be perceived, or 
tlii- pleasures of a good conscience appreciated, by a 
debauchee, as the things of God be received by a mind 
like that of Mr. Paine. 

lly, If the Bible be the word of God, it may be ex 
pected that " such an authority and Divine sanction should 
accompany it," that, while a candid mind shall presently 
perceive its evidence, those who read it either with neg 
ligence or prejudice shall only be confirmed in their unbe- 
lirf. It is tit that God's word should not be trifled with. 
When the Pharisees captiously demanded a sign or mira 
cle, they were sent away without one. They might go, if 
they pleased, and report the inability of Jesus to work a 
miracle. The evidence attending the resurrection of Christ 
is of this description. He had exhibited proofs of his Di 
vine mission publicly, and before the eyes of all men ; but 
seeing they were obstinately rejected, he told his enemies 
that they should see him no more till he should come on a 
different occasion : f and they saw him no more. They 
might insist, if they pleased, that the testimony of his dis 
ciples, who witnessed his resurrection, was insufficient. 
It is thus that heresies, offences, and scandals are permitted 
in the Christian church, that they who are approved may 
he made manifest ; and that occasion may be furnished 
for them who seek occasion to reproach religion and per 
sist in their unbelief. If men choose delusion, God also 
will choose to give them up to it. " The scorner shall seek 
wisdom, and shall not find it ; " and the word of life shall 
be a " savour of death unto death to them that perish." 
Mr. Paine, when he wrote the First Part of his Age of 
Reason, was without a Bible. Afterwards, he tells us, he 
procured one ; or, to use his own school-boy language, " a 
Bible and a Testament ; and I have found them," he adds, 
" to be much worse books than I had conceived." J In all 
this there is nothing surprising. On the contrary, if such 
a scorner had found wisdom, the Scriptures themselves had 
not been fulfilled. 

If an insolent coxcomb had been of opinion that Sir 
Isaac Newton was a mere ignoramus in philosophy, and 
had gone into his company that he might catechise, and 
afterwards, as occasion should offer, expose him ; it is not 
unlikely that this great writer, perceiving his arrogance, 
would have suffered him to depart without answering his 
questions, even though he might know at the time that 
his unfavourable opinion of him would thereby be the 
more confirmed. Let us but come to the Scriptures in a 
proper spirit, and we shall know of the doctrine whether it 
be of God ; but if we approach them in a cavilling hu 
mour, we may expect not only to remain in ignorance, but 
to be hardened more and more in unbelief. 



CHAPTER IV. 

THE CONSISTENCY OP THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, PARTICU 
LARLY THAT OF SALVATION THROUGH A MEDIATOR, WITH 
SOBER REASON. 

IF there is a God who created us, if we have all sinned 
against him, and if there is reason to believe that he will 
call us to account for our conduct, all which principles are 
admitted by Mr. Paine, || a gloomy prospect must needs 
present itself, sufficient indeed to render man " the slave 
of terror." It is not in the power of this writer, nor of 
any man living who rejects the Bible, to assure us that 
pardon will have any place in the Divine government ; and 
however light he may make of the Scripture doctrine of 
hell, He that calls men to account for their deeds will be 
at no loss how or where to punish them. But, allowing 
that God is disposed to show mercy to the guilty, the 
a is, Whether his doing so by or without a mediator 
be most consistent with what we know of fitness or pro 
priety t 

That pardon is bestowed through a mediator in a vast 

1 Cor. ii. 14. + Mtt. xxiii. 39. 

t AS of Reason, Part II. Preface, p. xii. ) Prov. xiv. 6. 

H Age of Keaioo, Part I. p. 1 ; Part II. p. 100. 
D 2 



variety of instances among men cannot bo denied ; and 
that it is proper it should be so must be evident to every 
thinking mind. All who are acquainted with the common 
affairs of life must be aware of the necessity of such pro 
ceedings, and the good effects of them upon society.^ 

It is far less humbling for an offender to be pardoned at 
his own request than through the interposition of a third 
person ; for, in the one case, he may be led to think that 
it was his virtue and penitence which influenced the de 
cision ; whereas, in the other, he is compelled to feel his 
own unworthiness : and this may be one reason why the 
mediation of Christ is so offensive. It is no wonder, in 
deed, that those who deny humility to be a virtue ** should 
be disgusted with a doctrine the professed object of which 
is to abase the pride of man. 

As forgiveness without a mediator is less humbling to 
the offender, so it provides less for the honour of the 
offended, than a contrary proceeding. Many a compas 
sionate heart has longed to go forth, like David towards 
Absalom ; but, from a just sense of wounded authority, 
could not tell how to effect it ; and has greatly desired 
that some common friend would interpose, to save his 
honour. He has wished to remit the sentence, but has 
felt the want of a mediator, at the instance of whom he 
might give effect to his desires, and exercise mercy with 
out seeming to be regardless of justice. An offender who 
should object to a mediator would be justly considered as 
hardened in impenitence, and regardless of the honour of 
the offended ; and it is difficult to say what other construc 
tion can be put upon the objections of sinners to the medi 
ation of Christ. 

Again, To exercise pardon without a mediator would 
be fixing no such ttigma upon the evil of the offence as is 
done by a contrary mode of proceeding. Every man feels 
that those faults which may be overlooked on a mere ac 
knowledgment are not of a very heinous nature ; they are 
such as arise from inadvertence, rather than from ill de 
sign ; and include little more than an error of the judg 
ment. On the other hand, every man feels that the calling 
in of a third person is making much of the offence, treat 
ing it as a serious affair, a breach that is not to be lightly 
passed over. This may be another reason why the media 
tion of Christ is so offensive to the ai! \ersaries of the gospel. 
It is no wonder that men who are continually speaking of 
moral evil under the palliating names of error, frailty, im 
perfection, and the like, should spurn at a doctrine the 
implication of which condemns it to everlasting infamy. ff 

Finally, To bestow pardon without a mediator would be 
treating the offence as private, or passing over it as a matter 
unknown, an affair which does not affect the well-being 
of society, and which therefore requires no public manifest 
ation of displeasure against it. Many a notorious offender 
would, doubtless, wish matters to be thus conducted, and, 
from an aversion to public exposure, would feel strong 
objections to the formal interposition of a third person. 
Whether this may not be another reason of dislike to the 
mediation of Christ I shall not decide ; but of this I am 
fully satisfied, that the want of a proper sense of the great 
evil of sin, as it affects the moral government of the uni 
verse, is a reason why its adversaries see no necessity for 
it, nor fitness in it. They prove by all their writings, that 
they have no delight in the moral excellency of the Divine 
nature, no just sense of the glory of moral government, 
and no proper views of the pernicious and widely extended 
influence of sin upon the moral system I is it any wonder, 
therefore, that they should be unconcerned about the 
plague being stayed by a sacrifice 1 Such views are too 
enlarged for their selfish and contracted minds. The only 
object of their care, even in their most serious moments, is 
to escape punishment ; for the honour of God, and the 
real good of creation, they discover no concern. 

The amount is this : If it be indeed improper for a 
guilty creature to lie low before his Creator, if it be unfit 
that any regard should be paid to the honour of his cha 
racter, if the offence committed against him be of so small 
account that it is unnecessary' for him to express any dis 
pleasure against it, and if it have been so private and in- 

*T See President Edwardi'i Remarks on Important Theologic.il Con- 
trorerniei, Chap. VI. 
Volney' Law of Nature, p. 49. ++ Rom. viii. 3. 



36 



THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST CONSISTENT WITH REASON. 



sulated in its operations, as in no way to affect the well- 
being of the moral system, the doctrine of forgiveness 
through a mediator is unreasonable. . But if the contrary 
be true if it be proper for a guilty creature to lie in the 
dust before his offended Creator, if the honour of the Di 
vine character deserve the first and highest regard, if moral 
evil be the greatest of all evils, and require, even where it 
is forgiven, a strong expression of Divine displeasure 
against it, and if its pernicious influence be such that, if 
suffered to operate according to its native tendency, it 
would dethrone the Almighty, and desolate the universe, 
the doctrine in question must accord with the plainest 
dictates of reason. 

The sense of mankind, with regard to the necessity of a 
mediator, may be illustrated by the following similitude : 
Let us suppose a division of the army of one of the wisest 
and best of kings, through the evil counsel of a foreign 
enemy, to have been disaffected to his government ; and 
that, without any provocation on his part, they traitorously 
conspired against his crown and life. The attempt failed ; 
and the offenders were seized, disarmed, tried by the laws 
of their country, and condemned to die. A respite how 
ever was granted them during his majesty's pleasure. At 
this solemn period, while every part of the army and of 
the empire was expecting the fatal order for execution, the 
king was employed in meditating mercy. But how could 
mercy be shown t " To make light of a conspiracy," said 
he to his friends, " would loosen the bands of good go 
vernment : other divisions of the army might be tempted 
to follow their example ; and the nation at large be in 
danger of imputing it to tameness, fear, or some unworthy 
motive." 

Every one felt, in this case, the necessity of a mediator, 
and agreed as to the general line of conduct proper for him 
to pursue. " He must not attempt," say they, " to com 
promise the difference by dividing the blame ; that would 
make things worse. He must justify the king, and con 
demn the outrage committed against him ; he must offer, 
if possible, some honourable expedient, by means of which 
the bestowment of pardon shall not relax, but strengthen 
just authority ; he must convince the conspirators of their 
crime, and introduce them in the character of supplicants ; 
and mercy must be shown them out of respect to him, or 
for his sake." 

But who could be found to mediate in such a cause 1 
This was an important question. A work of this kind, it 
was allowed on all hands, required singular qualifications. 
" He must be perfectly clear of any participation in the 
offence" said one, " or inclination to favour it ; for to par 
don conspirators at the intercession of one who is friendly 
to their cause would be not only making light of the 
crime, but giving a sanction to it." 

" He must," said another, " be one who on account of 
his character and services stands high in the esteem of the 
king and of the public ; for to mediate in such a cause is 
to become, in a sort, responsible for the issue. A medi 
ator, in effect, pledges his honour that no evil will result 
to the state from the granting of his request. But if a 
mean opinion be entertained of him, no trust can be placed 
in him, and, consequently, no good impression would be 
made by his mediation on the public mind." 

" I conceive it is necessary," said a third, " that the 
weight of the mediation should bear a proportion to the 
magnitude of the crime, and to the value of the favour re 
quested ; and that for this end it is proper he should be a 
person of great dignity. For his majesty to pardon a com 
pany of conspirators at the intercession of one of their 
former comrades, or of any other obscure character, even 
though he might be a worthy man, would convey a very 
diminutive idea of the evil of the offence." 

A fourth remarked, that " he must possess a tender com 
passion towards the unhappy offenders, or he would not 
cordially interest himself on their behalf." 

Finally. It was suggested by a fifth, " that, for the greater 
fitness of the proceeding, it would be proper that some re 
lation or connexion should subsist between the parties." 
" We feel the propriety," said he, " of forgiving an offence 
at the intercession of a father, or a brother ; or if it be 
committed by a soldier, of his commanding officer. With 
out some kind of previous relation or connexion, a media 



tion would have the appearance of an arbitrary and formal 
process, and prove but little interesting to the hearts of the 
community." 

Such were the reasonings of the king's friends ; but 
where to find the character in whom these qualifications 
were united, and what particular expedient could be de 
vised, by means of which, instead of relaxing, pardon 
should strengthen just authority, were subjects too difficult 
for them to resolve. 

Meanwhile, the king and his son, whom he greatly 
loved, and whom he had appointed generalissimo of all his 
forces, had retired from the company, and were conversing 
about the matter which attracted the general attention. 

" My son !" said the benevolent sovereign, " what can 
be done in behalf of these unhappy men t To order them 
for execution violates every feeling of my heart ; yet to 
pardon them is dangerous. The army, and even the em 
pire, would be under a strong temptation to think lightly 
of rebellion. If mercy be exercised, it must be through a 
mediator ; and who is qualified to mediate in such a cause 1 ? 
And what expedient can be devised by means of which 
pardon shall not relax, but strengthen just authority 1 
Speak, my son, and say what measures can be pursued 1 " 

" My father !" said the prince, " I feel the insult offered 
to your person and government, and the injury thereby 
aimed at the empire at large. They have transgressed 
without cause, and deserve to die without mercy. Yet I 
also feel for them. I have the heart of a soldier. I can 
not endure to witness their execution. What shall I say 1 
On me be this wrong ! Let me suffer in their stead. In 
flict on me as much as is necessary to impress the army 
and the nation with a just sense of the evil, and of the 
importance of good order and faithful allegiance. Let it 
be in their presence, and in the presence of all assembled. 
When this is done, let them be permitted to implore and 
receive your majesty's pardon in my name. If any man 
refuse so to implore, and so to receive it, let him die the 
death!" 

" My son !" replied the king, " you have expressed my 
heart ! The same things have occupied my mind ; but it 
was my desire that you should be voluntary in the under 
taking. It shall be as you have said. I shall be satisfied ; 
justice itself will be satisfied ; and I pledge my honour 
that you also shall be satisfied in seeing the happy effects 
of your disinterested conduct. Propriety requires that I 
stand aloof in the day of your affliction ; but I will not 
leave you utterly, nor suffer the beloved of my soul to re 
main in that condition. A temporary affliction on your 
part will be more than equivalent to death on theirs. The 
dignity of your person and character will render the suffer 
ings of an hour of greater account, as to the impression of 
the public mind, than if all the rebellious had been exe 
cuted ; and by how much I am known to have loved you, 
by so much will my compassion to them, and my displea 
sure against their wicked conduct, be made manifest. Go, 
my son, assume the likeness of a criminal, and suffer in 
their place !" 

The gracious design being communicated at court, all 
were struck with it. Those who had reasoned on the 
qualifications of a mediator saw that in the prince all were 
united, and were filled with admiration ; but that he should 
be willing to suffer in the place of rebels was beyond all 
that could have been asked or thought. Yet, seeing he 
himself had generously proposed it, would survive his suf 
ferings, and reap the reward of them, they cordially acqui 
esced. The only difficulty that was started was among the 
judges of the realm. They, at first, questioned whether 
the proceeding were admissible. " The law," said they, 
" makes provision for the transfer of debts, but not of 
crimes. Its language is, ' The soul that sinneth shall 
die.' " But when they came to view things on a more 
enlarged scale, considering it as an expedient on an extra 
ordinary occasion, and perceived that the spirit of the law 
would be preserved, and all the ends of good government 
answered, they were satisfied. " It is not a measure," 
said they, " for which the law provides ; yet it is not con 
trary to the law, but above it." 

The day appointed arrived. The prince appeared, and 
suffered as a criminal. The hearts of the king's friends 
bled at every stroke, and burned with indignation against 






THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST CONSISTENT WITH REASON. 



37 



tlie conduct which rendered it necessary. His enemies, 
however, even some of those for whom he suffered, con 
tinuing to be disaffected, added to the affliction, by deriding 
and insulting him all the time. At a proper period, he 
was rescued from their outrage. Returning to the palace, 
amidst the tears and shouts of the loyal spectators, the 
suffering hero was embraced by his royal father ; who, in 
addition to the natural affection which he bore to him as a 
aon, loved him for his singular interposition at such a crisis : 
" Sit thou," said he, " at my right hand ! Though the 
threalenings of the law be not literally accomplished, yet 
the spirit of them is preserved. The honour of good 
government is secured, and the end of punishment more 
effectually answered than if all the rebels had been sacri- 
ticeil. A-k of me what I shall give thee ! No favour can 
be too great to be bestowed, even upon the unworthiest, 
nor any crime too aggravated to be forgiven, in thy name. 
I will grant thee according to thine own heart! Ask of 
me, my son, what I shall give thee ! " 

He asked for the offenders to be introduced as suppli 
cants at the feet of his father, for the forgiveness of their 
crimes, and for the direction of affairs till order and hap 
piness should be perfectly restored. 

A proclamation addressed to the conspirators was now 
issued, statin? what had been their conduct, what the con 
duct of the king, and what of the prince. Messengers 
also were appointed to carry it, with orders to read it 
publicly, and to expostulate with them individually, be 
seeching them to be reconciled to their offended sovereign, 
and to assure them that, if they rejected this, there re 
mained no more hope of mercy. 

A spectator would suppose that in mercy so freely 
offered, and so honourably communicated, every one would 
have acquiesced ; and if reason had governed the offend 
ers, it had been so : but many among them continued 
under the influence of disaffection, and disaffection gives 
a false colouring to every thing. 

The time of the respite having proved longer than was 
at first expected, some had begun to amuse themselves 
with idle speculations, flattering themselves that their 
fault was a mere trifle, and that it certainly would be 
passed over. Indeed the greater part of them had turned 
their attention to other things, concluding that the king 
was not in good earnest. 

When the proclamation was read, many paid no manner 
of attention to it ; some insinuated that the messengers 
were interested men, and that there might be no truth in 
what they said ; and some even abused them as impostors. 
So, having delivered their message, they withdrew ; and 
the rebels, finding themselves alone, such of them as paid 
any attention to the subject expressed their mind as fol 
lows : 

" My heart," says one, " rises against every part of this 
proceeding. Why all this ado about a few words spoken 
one to another t Can such a message as this have pro 
ceeded from the kingl What have we done so much 
against him, that so much should be made of it t No 
petition of ours, it seems, would avail any thing ; and 
nothing that we could say or do could be regarded, unless 
presented in the name of a third person. Surely if we 
present a petition in our own names, in which we beg 
pardon, and promise not to repeat the offence, this might 
suffice. Even this is more than I can find in my heart to 
comply with ; but every thing beyond it is unreasonable ; 
and who can believe that the king can desire it!" 

" If a third person," says another, " must be concerned 
in the affair, what occasion is there for one so high in rank 
*nd dignity t To stand in need of such a mediator must 
stamp our characters with everlasting infamy. It is very 
unreasonable : who can believe it t If the king be just and 
good, as they say he is, how can he wish thus publicly to 
expose us 1" 

" 1 observe," says a third, " that the mediator is tcholly 
on the king's side ; and one whom, though he affects to 
pity us, we have, from the outset, considered as no less 
our enemy than the king himself. If, indeed, he could 
compromise matters, and would allow that we had our 
provocations, and would promise us redress, and an easier 
yoke in future, I should feel inclined to hearken ; hut if 
he have no concessions to offer, I can never be reconciled." 



" I believe," says a fourth, " that the king knows very 
well that we have not had justice done us, and therefore 
this mediation business is introduced to make us amends- 
for the injury. It is an affair settled somehow betwixt him 
and his son. They call it grace, and I am not much con 
cerned what they call it, so that my life is spared ; but 
this I say, if he had not made this or some kind of pro 
vision, I should have thought him a tyrant." 

" You are all wrong," says a fifth : " I comprehend the 
design, and am well pleased with it. I hate the govern 
ment as much as any of you : but I love the mediator ; 
for I understand it is his intention to deliver me from its 
tyranny. He has paid the debt, the king is satisfied, and 
I am free. I will sue out for my right, and demand my 
liberty ! " 

In addition to this, one of the company observed, he 
did not see what the greater part of them had to do with 
the proclamation, unless it were to give it a hearing, which 
they had done already. " For," said he, " pardon is pro 
mised only to them who are willing to submit, and it is 
well known that many of us are unwilling ; nor can we 
alter our minds on this subject." 

After a while, however, some of them were brought to 
relent. They thought upon the subject matter of the 
proclamation, were convinced of the justness of its state 
ments, reflected upon their evil conduct, and were sin 
cerely sorry on account of it. And now the mediation of 
the prince appeared in a very different light. They cor 
dially said Amen to every part of the proceeding. The 
very things which gave such offence, while their hearts 
were disaffected, now appeared to them fit, and right, and 
glorious. " It is fit," say they, " that the king should be 
honoured, and that we should be humbled ; for we havo 
transgressed wit/unit cause. It is right that no regard 
should be paid to any petition of ours, for its own sake ; 
for we have done deeds worthy of death. It is glorious 
that we should be saved at the intercession of so honour 
able a personage. The dignity of his character, together 
with his surprising condescension and goodness, impresses 
us more than any thing else, and fills our hearts with peni 
tence, confidence, and love. That which in the procla 
mation is called grace is grace ; for we are utterly un 
worthy of it ; and if we had all suffered according to our 
sentence, the king and his throne had been guiltless. We 
embrace the mediation of the prince, not as a reparation 
for an injury, but as a singular instance of mercy. And 
far be it from us that we should consider it as designed 
to deliver us from our original and just allegiance to 
his majesty's government ! No, rather it is intended to 
restore us to it. We love our intercessor, and will implore 
forgiveness in his name ; but we also love our sovereign, 
and long to prostrate ourselves at his feet. We rejoice in 
the satisfaction which the prince has made, and nW our 
hopes of mercy are founded upon it ; but we have no 
notion of being freed by it previously to our acquiescence 
in it. Nor do we desire any other kind of freedom than 
that which, while it remits the just sentence of the law, 
restores us to his majesty's government. Oh that we were 
once clear of this hateful and horrid conspiracy, and might 
be permitted to serve him with affection and fidelity all the 
days of our life ! We cannot suspect the sincerity of the 
invitation, or acquit our companions on the score of t/n- 
ifillingness. Why should we 1 We do not on this account 
acquit ourselves. On the contrary, it is the remembrance 
of our unwillingness that now cuts us to the heart. We 
well remember to what it was owing that we could not be 
satisfied with the just government of the king, and after 
wards could not comply with the invitations of mercy : it 
was because we were under the dominion of a disaffected 
spirit a spirit which, wicked as it is in itself, it would be 
be more wicked to justify. Our counsel is, therefore, the 
same as that of his majesty's messengers, with whom we 
now take our stand. Let us lay aside this cavilling humour, 
repent, and sue for mercy in the way prescribed, ere mercy 
be hid from our eyes ! " 

The r -ader, in applying this supposed case to the medi 
ation of Christ, will do me the justice to remember that I 
do not pretend to have perfectly represented it. Probably 
there is no similitude fully adequate to the purpose. The 
distinction between the Father and the Son is not the 



38 



THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST CONSISTENT WITH REASON. 



same as that which subsists between a father and a son 
among men : the latter are two separate beings ; but to 
assert this of the former would be inconsistent with the 
Divine unity. Nor can any thing be found analogous to 
the doctrine of Divine influence, by which the redemption 
of Christ is carried into effect. And with respect to the 
innocent voluntarily suffering for the guilty, in a few ex 
traordinary instances this principle may be adopted ; but 
the management and application of it generally require 
more wisdom and more power than mortals possess. We 
may, by the help of a machine, collect a few sparks of the 
electrical fluid, and produce an effect somewhat resembling 
that of lightning ; but we cannot cause it to blaze like the 
Almighty, nor " thunder with a voice like Him." 

Imperfect, however, as the foregoing similitude may ap- 
penr in some respects, it is sufficient to show the fallacy of 
Mr. Paine's reasoning. " The doctrine of redemption," 
says this writer, " has for its basis an idea of pecuniary 
justice, and not that of moral justice. If I owe a person 
money, and cannot pay him, and he threatens to put me 
into prison, another person can take the debt upon him 
self, and pay it for me ; but if I have committed a crime, 
every circumstance of the case is changed. Moral justice 
cannot take the innocent for the guilty, even if the inno 
cent would offer itself. To suppose justice to do this is to 
destroy the principle of its existence, which is the thing 
itself. It is then no longer justice, but indiscriminate re 
venge."* This objection, which is the same for substance 
as has been frequently urged by Socinians as well as deists, 
is founded in misrepresentation. It is not true that re 
demption has for its basis the idea of pecuniary justice, 
and not that of moral justice. That sin is called a debt, 
and the death of Christ a price, a ransom, &c., is true ; but 
it is no unusual thing for moral obligations and deliver 
ances to be expressed in language borrowed from pecuniary 
transactions. The obligations of a son to a father are 
commonly expressed by such terms as owing and paying : 
he owes a debt of obedience, and in yielding it he pays a 
debt of gratitude. The same may be said of an obligation 
to punishment. A murderer owes his life to the justice of 
his country ; and when he suffers, he is said to pay the 
awful debt. So also if a great character, by suffering 
death, could deliver his country, such deliverance would 
be spoken of as obtained by the price of blood. No one 
mistakes these things by understanding them of pecuniary 
transactions. In such connexions, every one perceives 
that the terms are used not literally, but metaphorically ; 
and it is thus that they are to be understood Avith refer 
ence to the death of Christ. As sin is not a pecuniary, 
but a moral debt, so the atonement for it is not a pecu 
niary, but a moral ransom. 

There is, doubtless, a sufficient analogy between pecu 
niar^*" and moral proceedings to justify the use of such 
language, both in Scripture and in common life ; and it is 
easy to perceive the advantages which arise from it ; as, 
besides conveying much important truth, it renders it 
peculiarly impressive to the mind. But it is not always 
safe to reason from the former to the latter ; much less is 
it just to affirm that the latter has for its basis every prin 
ciple which pertains to the former. The deliverance 
effected by the prince, in the case before stated, might, 
with propriety, be called a redemption ; and the recollec 
tion of it, under this idea, would be very impressive to the 
minds of those who were delivered. They would scarcely 
be able to see or think of their commander-in-chief, even 
though it might be years after the event, without being 
reminded of the price at which their pardon was obtained, 
and dropping a tear of ingenuous grief orer their unworthy 
conduct on this account. Yet it would not be just to say 
that this redemption had for its basis an idea of pecuniary 
justice, and not that of moral justice. 

It was moral justice which in this case was satisfied : 
not, however, in its ordinary form, but as exercised on an 
extraordinary occasion ; not the letter, but the spirit of it. 

Age of Season, Part I. p. 20. 

+ Treatise of Jesus Christ the Saviour, Part III. Chap. I. 

J Dissertation on Divine Justice, Chap. IX. Section VII. VIII. 

_J 1 he Christian reader, it is presumed, may hence obtain a clear 

view of the ends answered by the death of Christ, a subject which lias 

occupied much attention among divines. Some have asserted that 

Christ by his satisfaction accomplished this only, " That God now, 



The Scripture doctrine of atonement, being conveyed in 
language borrowed from pecuniary transactions, is not only 
improved by unbelievers into an argument against the 
truth of the gospel, but has been the occasion of many 
errors among the professors of Christianity. Socinus, on 
this ground, attempts to explain away the necessity of a 
satisfaction. " God," says he, " is our Creditor. Our 
sins are debts which we have contracted with him ; but 
every one may yield up his right, and more especially God, 
who is the supreme Lord of all, and extolled in the Scrip 
tures for his liberality and goodness. Hence, then, it is 
evident that God can pardon sins without any satisfaction 
received. "f Others, who profess to embrace the doctrine 
of satisfaction, have, on the same ground, perverted and 
abused it ; objecting to the propriety of humble and con 
tinued applications for mercy, and presuming to claim the 
forgiveness of their sins past, present, and to come as their 
legal right, and what it would be unjust in the Supreme 
Being, having received complete satisfaction, to withhold. 

To the reasoning of Socinus Dr. Owen judiciously re 
plies, by distinguishing between right as it respects debts 
and as it respects government. The former, he allows, 
may be given up without a satisfaction, but not the latter. 
" Our sins," he adds, " are called debts, not properly, but 
metaphorically." J This answer equally, applies to those 
who pervert the doctrine as to those who deny it ; for 
though in matters of debt and credit a full satisfaction from 
a surety excludes the idea of free pardon on the part of 
the creditor, and admits of a claim on the part of the 
debtor, yet it is otherwise in relation to crimes. In the 
interposition of the prince, as stated above, an honourable 
expedient was adopted, by means of which the sovereign 
was satisfied, and the exercise of mercy rendered consistent 
with just authority ; but there was no less grace in the 
act of forgiveness than if it had been without a satisfaction. 
However well-pleased the king might be with the conduct 
of his son, the freeness of pardon was not at all diminished 
by it ; nor must the criminals come before him as claim 
ants, but as supplicants, imploring mercy in the mediator's 
name. 

Such are the leading ideas which the Scriptures give us 
of redemption by Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul espe 
cially teaches this doctrine with great precision : " Being 
justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that 
is in Christ Jesus : whom God hath set forth to be a pro 
pitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his right 
eousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the 
forbearance of God ; to declare, I say, at this time, his 
righteousness : that he might be just, and the justifier of 
him which believeth in Jesus." From this passage we 
may remark, first, That the grace of God, as taught in the 
Scriptures, is not that kind of liberality which Socinians 
and deists ascribe to him, which sets aside the necessity 
of a satisfaction. Free grace, according to Paul, requires 
a propitiation, even the shedding of the Saviour's blood, as 
a medium through which it may be honourably communi 
cated. Secondly, Redemption by Jesus Christ was ac 
complished, not by a satisfaction that should preclude the 
exercise of grace in forgiveness, but in which, the displea 
sure of God against sin being manifested, mercy to the 
sinner might be exercised without any suspicion of his 
having relinquished his regards for righteousness. In 
" setting forth Jesus Christ to be a propitiation," lie " de 
clared his righteousness for the remission of sins." Third 
ly, The righteousness of God was not only declared when 
Christ was made a propitiatory sacrifice, but continues to 
be manifested in the acceptance of believers through his 
name. He appears as just while acting the part of a jus 
tifier towards every one that believeth in Jesus. Fourthly, 
That which is here applied to the blessings of forgiveness 
and acceptance with God is applicable to all other spirit 
ual blessings : all, according to the Scriptures, are freely 
communicated through the same distinguished medium. 
See Ephes. i. 

consistently with the honour of his justice, may pardon (returning) 
sinners if he willeth so to do." This is, doubtless, true, as far as it 
goes ; but it makes no provision for the return of the sinner. This 
scheme, therefore, leaves the sinner to perish in impenitence and un 
belief, and the Saviour without any security of seeing of the travail ot 
his soul. For how can a sinner return without the power of the Holy 
Spirit J And the Holy Spirit, equally with every other spiritual bless- 






THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST CONSISTENT WITH REASON. 



Those remarks may suffice to show, not only that Mr. 
Prune's assertion has no truth in it, but that all those pro 
fessors of Christianity who have adopted his principle ha\e 
so fur deviated from the doctrine of redemption as it is 
taught in the Scriptures. 

As to what Mr. Paine alleges, that the innocent suffer 
ing for the guilty, even though it be with his own consent, 
is contrary to every principle of moral justice, he affirms 
the same of God's " risking the iniquities of the fathers 
upon the children." * But this is a truth evident by uni 
versal experience. It is seen every day, in every part of the 
world. If Mr. Paine indulge in intemperance, and leave 
children behind him, they may feel the consequences of his 
misconduct when ,he is in the grave. The sins of the 
father may thus be visited upon the children to the third 
and fourth generation. It would, however, be their afflic 
tion only, and not their punishment. Yet such visitations 
are wisely ordered as a motive to sobriety. Nor is it be 
tween parents and children only that such a connexion ex 
ists, ns that the happiness of one depends upon the conduct 
of others ; a slight survey of society, in its various rela 
tions, must convince us that the same principle pervades 
creation. To call this injustice is to fly in the face of the 
Creator. With such an objector I have nothing to do : 
" He that reproveth God, let him answer it." 

If the idea of the innocent suffering in the room of the 
guilty were in all cases inadmissible, and utterly repug 
nant to the human understanding, how came the use of 
expiatory sacrifices to prevail, as it has, in every age and 
nation t Whether the idea first proceeded from a Divine 
command, as Christians generally believe, or whatever was 
its origin, it has approved itself to the minds of men ; and 
not of the most uncultivated part of mankind only, but of 
the most learned and polite. The sacrifices of the Gen 
tiles, it is true, were full of superstition, and widely differ 
ent, as might be expected, from those which were regulated 
by the Scriptures ; but the general principle is the same : 
11 agree in the idea of the displeasure of the Deity being 
appeasable by an innocent victim being sacrificed in the 
place of the guilty. The idea of expiatory sacrifices, and 
of a mediation founded upon them, is beautifully expressed 
in the Book of Job ; a book not only of great antiquity, 
but which seems to have obtained the approbation of Mr. 
Paine, having, as he supposes, been written by a Gentile. 
"And it was so that, after the Lord had spoken these 
words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz, the Temanite, 
My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two 
friends ; for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is 
right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you 
now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my sen-ant 
Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering ; and my 
servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept ; lest 

Ing, is given in consideration of the death of Christ. Others, to 
remedy this defect, have considered the death of Christ as purchating 
repentance and faith, as well as all other spiritual blessings, on behalf 
of the elect. The writer of these pages acknowledges he never could 
perceive that any clear or determinate idea was conveyed by the term 
purrhate, in this connexion ; nor docs it appear to him to be applica 
ble to the subject, unless il be in an improper or figurative sense. He 
lias no doubt of the atonement of Christ being a perfect satisfaction to 
Divine justice ; nor of his being worthy of all that was conferred upon 
him, and upon us for hig sake ; nor of that which to ut is sovereign 
mercy beinsr to him an exercise of remunerative justice : but he wishe* 
it to be considered. Whether the moral Governor of the world was 
laid under such a kind of obligation to show mercy to sinners as a 
creditor is under to discharge a debtor, on having received full satis 
faction at the hands of a surety? If he be, the writer is unable to 
perceive how there can be any room for free forgiveness on the part of 
God, or how it can be said that justice and grace harmonize in a sin 
ner's salvation. Nothing is further from his intention than to depre 
ciate the merit of his Lord and Saviour: but he considers merit as of 
two kinds ; either on account of a benefit conferred, which on the 
footing of justice requires an equal return, or of something done or 
suffered, which is if or thy of being rewarded by a Being distinguished 
by his love of righteousness. In the first sense it cannot, as ne sup 
pose*, be exercised towards an infinite and perfect Being. The good 
ness of Christ himself, in this way, extendeth not to Mm. It is in the 
last sense that the Scriptures appear to him to represent the merit of 
the Hccleemer. That he " who was in the form of God should take 
upon him the form of a sen-ant, and be made in the likeness of men, 
nd humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death 
of the cross," was so glorious an undertaking, and so acceptable to the 
Father, that on this account he " set him at his own right hand in the 
heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and 
dominion, and every name that is named, not only in thU world, but 
also in that which is to come : and hath put all things under bis feet, 



I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not Rpoken 
of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So 
Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Slmhite, and Zo- 
phar the Naamathite, went and did according as the Lord 
commanded them : the Lord also accepted Job." The 
objections which are now made to the sacrifi e of Christ 
equally apply to all expiatory sacrifices, the offering up of 
which, had not the former superseded them, would have 
continued to this day. 

If an innocent character offer to die in the room of a 
guilty fellow creature, it is not ordinarily accepted, nor 
would it be proper that it should. For he may have no 
just right to dispose of his life ; or if he have, he has no 
power to resume it ; there may likewise be no such rela 
tion between the parties, as that the suffering of the one 
should express displeasure against the conduct of the other. 
Besides this, there may be no great and good end ac 
complished to society by such a substitution : the loss 
sustained by the death of the one might be equal, if not 
superior, to the gain from the life of the other. If the 
evil to be endured might be survived if the relation be 
tween the parties were such that, in the sufferings of tha 
one, mankind would be impressed with the evil of the 
other and if by such a proceeding great advantage would 
accrue to society, instead of being accounted inadmissible, 
it would be reckoned right, and wise, and good. If a dig 
nified individual, byenduring some temporary severity from 
an offended nation, could appease their displeasure, and 
thereby save his country from the destroying sword, who 
would not admire his disinterested conduct 1 And if the 
offended, from motives of humanity, were contented with 
expressing their displeasure, by transferring the effect of it 
from a whole nation to an individual who thus stepped 
forward on their behalf, would their conduct be censured 
as " indiscriminate revenge 1" The truth is, the atone 
ment of Christ affords a display of justice on too large a 
scale, and on too humbling a principle, to approve itself to 
a contracted, selfish, and haughty mind. 



CHAPTER V. 

TUB CONSISTENCY OF THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF RE 
DEMPTION WITH THE IIODERN OPINION OF THE MAGNI 
TUDE OF CREATION. 

IT is common for deists to impute the progress of their 
principles to the prevalence oftnte philosophy. The world, 
they say, is more enlightened ; and a great number of dis 
coveries are progressively making, which render the credi- 

and gave him to be the Head over all things to the church." Nor was 
this all : so trell pleated was he with all that he did and suffered, as 
to reward it not only with honours conferred upon himself, but with 
blessings on sinners for his sake. Whatever is asked in hit name, it 
is given us. 

It is true, as the writer apprehends, that a way was opened, by the 
mediation of Christ, for the free and consistent exercise of mercy in 
all the methods which Sovereign Wisdom saw tit to adopt. 

There are three kinds of blessings, in particular, which God, out of 
regard to the death of his Son, bestows upon men : First, He sends 
forth the gospel of salvation, accompanied with a free and indefinite 
invitation to embrace it, and an assurance that whosoever complies 
with the invitation (for which there is no ability wanting in any man 
who possesses an honest heart) shall have everlasting life. This fa 
vour is bestowed on tinner* at tinnert. God " giveth the true bread 
from heaven" in this way to many who never receive it. He imiteth 
those to the gospel supper who refuse and mate light of it, John u. 
32 36 ; Matt. xxii. 4, 5. Secondly, He bestows his Holy Spirit to re 
new and sanctify the soul ; gives a new heart and a right spirit, and 
takes away the heart of stone. " Christ is exalted to give repentance," 
Acts v. 31. " Unto us it is given, in behalf of Christ, to believe in 
him," Phil. i. 29. " We have obtained like precious faith through the 
righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. 1. Thig 
favour U conferred on elect tinnert. See Acts xiii. 48; Bom. viii. 
2830. Thirdly, Through the same medium U given the free pardon 
of all our sins, acceptance with God, power to become the son* of God, 
and the promise of everlasting life. " Your sin* are forgiven you for 
his name'* sake," 1 John ii. 12. "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven 
you," Eph. iv. Sa. "We are accepted in the Beloved," Eph. i. 6. 
By means of his death we " receive the promise of eternal inherit 
ance," Heb. ix. ID. This kind of blessing* is conferred on bettering 
tinnert. 

Age of Reason, Part I. p. 4. Note. 



40 



REDEMPTION CONSISTENT WITH 



bility of the Scriptures more and more suspicious. It is 
now a commonly received opinion, for instance, among 
men of science, that this world is but a point in creation ; 
that every planet is a world, and all the fixed stars so many 
suns in the centres of so many systems of worlds ; and 
that, as every part of creation within our knowledge teems 
with life, and as God has made nothing in vain, it is 
highly probable that all these worlds are inhabited by in 
telligent beings, who are capable of knowing and adoring 
their Creator. But if this be true, how incredible is it that 
so great a portion of regard should be exercised by the 
Supreme Being towards man as the Scriptures represent ! 
how incredible, especially, it must appear, to a thinking 
mind, that Deity should become incarnate, should take 
human nature into the most intimate union with himself, 
and thereby raise it to such singular eminency in the scale 
of being ; though, compared with the whole of the crea 
tion, if we comprehend even the whole species, it be less 
than a nest of insects compared with the unnumbered mil 
lions of animated beings which inhabit the earth ! 

This objection, there is reason to think, has had a very 
considerable influence on the speculating part of mankind. 
Mr. Paine, in the first part of his Age of Reason, (pp. 40 
47,) has laboured, after his manner, to make the most of it, 
and thereby to disparage Christianity. " Though it is not 
a direct article of the Christian system," he says, " that 
this world which we inhabit is the whole of the habitable 
creation ; yet it is so worked up therewith, from what is 
called the Mosaic account of the creation, the story of Eve 
and the apple, and the counterpart of that story the death 
of the Son of God, that to believe otherwise, that is, to 
believe that God created a plurality of worlds, at least as 
numerous as what we call stars, renders the Christian sys 
tem of faith at once little and ridiculous, and scatters it in 
the mind like feathers in the air. The two beliefs cannot 
be held together in the same mind ; and he who thinks he 
believes both has thought but little of either," p. 40. 

Again, Having discoursed on the vast extent of creation, 
he asks, " But, in the midst of these reflections, what are 
we to think of the Christian system of faith, that forms it 
self upon the idea of only one world, and that of no greater 
extent than twenty-five thousand miles'?" "Whence 
could arise the solitary and strange conceit, that the Al 
mighty, who had millions of worlds equally dependent on 
his protection, should quit the care of all the rest, and 
come to die in our world, because they say one man and 
one woman had eaten an apple 1 And, on the other hand, 
are we to suppose that every world in the boundless crea 
tion had an Eve, an apple, a serpent, and a Redeemer * In 
this case, the person who is irreverently called the Son of 
God, and sometimes God himself, would have nothing else 
to do than to travel from world to world, in an endless 
succession of death, with scarcely a momentary interval of 
life," p. 46. 

To animadvert upon all the extravagant and offensive 
things, even in so small a part of Mr. Paine's performance 
as the above quotation, would be an irksome task. A few 
remarks, however, may not be improper. 

First, Though Mr. Paine is pleased to say, in his usual 
style of naked assertion, that " the two beliefs cannot be 
held together, and that he who thinks he believes both has 
thought but little of either;" yet he cannot be ignorant 
that many who have admitted the one have at the same 
time held fast the other. Mr. Paine is certainly not over 
loaded with modesty, when comparing his own abilities 
and acquisitions with those of other men ; but I am in 
clined to think that, with all his assurance, he will not 
pretend that Bacon, or Boyle, or Newton, to mention no 
more, had thought but little of philosophy or Christianity. 
I imagine it would be within the compass of truth, were 
I to say that they bestowed twenty times more thought 
upon these subjects than ever Mr. Paine did. His ex 
treme ignorance of Christianity, at least, is manifest by 
the numerous gross blunders of which he has been de 
tected. 

Secondly, Supposing the Scripture account of the crea 
tion to be inconsistent with the ideas which modern phi 
losophers entertain of its extent, yet it is not what Mr. 
Paine represents it. It certainly does not teach " that 
this world which we inhabit is the whole of the habitable 



creation." Mr. Paine will not deny that it exhibits a 
world of happiness, and a world of misery ; though this, 
in the career of his extravagance, he seems to have over 
looked. 

Thirdly, If the two beliefs, as Mr. Paine calls them, 
cannot be consistently held together, we need not be at a 
loss to determine which to relinquish. All the reasoning 
in favour of a multiplicity of worlds, inhabited by intelli 
gent beings, amounts to no more than a strong probability. 
No man can properly be said to believe it : it is not a 
matter of faith, but of opinion. It is an opinion too that 
has taken place of other opinions, which, in their day, 
were admired by the philosophical part of mankind as 
much as this is in ours. Mr. Paine seems to wish to have it 
thought that the doctrine of a multiplicity of inhabited 
worlds is a matter of demonstration ; but the existence of 
a number of heavenly bodies, whose revolutions are under 
the direction of certain laws, and whose returns, therefore, 
are the objects of human calculation, does not prove that 
they are all inhabited by intelligent beings. I do not 
deny that, from other considerations, the thing may be 
highly probable ; but it is no more than a probability. 
Now, before we give up a doctrine which, if it were even 
to prove fallacious, has no dangerous consequences attend 
ing it, and which, if it should be found a truth, involves 
our eternal salvation, we should endeavour to have a more 
solid ground than mere opinion on which to take our 
stand. 

But I do not wish to avail myself of these observations, as 
I am under no apprehensions that the cause in which I 
engage requires them. ADMITTING THAT THE INTELLI 
GENT CREATION IS AS EXTENSIVE AS MODERN PHILOSOPHY 
SUPPOSES, THE CREDIBILITY OF REDEMPTION IS NOT THERE 
BY WEAKENED ; BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, IN MANY RESPECTS, 
IS STRENGTHENED AND AGGRANDIZED. I shall offer a few 

observations on each of the branches of the above position. 

The Scripture doctrine of redemption, it is acknowledged, 
supposes that man, mean and little as he is in the scale of 
being, has occupied a peculiar portion of the Divine re 
gard. It requires to be noticed, however, that the ene 
mies of revelation, in order it should seem to give the 
greater force to their objection, diminish the importance of 
man, as a creature of God, beyond what its friends can 
admit. Though Mr. Paine expresses his " hope of happi 
ness beyond this life," and though some other deistical 
writers have admitted the immortality of the soul ; yet 
this is more than others of them will allow. The hope of 
a future state, as we have seen, is objected to by many of 
them as a selfish principle ; and others of them have at 
tempted to hold it up to ridicule. But the immortality of 
man is a doctrine which redemption supposes ; and if this 
be allowed, man is not so insignificant a being as they 
might wish to consider him. A being that possesses an 
immortal mind, a mind capable of increasing knowledge, 
and, consequently, of increasing happiness or misery, in an 
endless duration, cannot be insignificant. It is no exag 
geration to say that the salvation of one soul, according 
to the Scriptural account of things, is of inconceivably 
greater moment than the temporal salvation of a nation, or 
of all the nations in the world for ten thousand ages. The 
eternal salvation, therefore, of a number of lost sinners, 
which no man can number, however it may be a matter 
of infinite condescension in the great Supreme to accom 
plish, is not an object for creatures, even the most exalted, 
to consider as of small account. 

Having premised thus much, I shall proceed, in the first 
place, to offer a few observations in proof that THERE is 

NOTHING IN THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF REDEMPTION 
WHICH IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE MODERN OPINION OF 
THE MAGNITUDE OF CREATION. 

1. Let creation be as extensive as it may, and the number 
of worlds be multiplied to the utmost boundary to which 
imagination can reach, there is no proof that any of them, 
except men and angels, have apostatized from God. If our 
world be only a small province, so to speak, of God's vast 
empire, there is reason to hope that it is the only part of 
it where sin has entered, except among the fallen angels, 
and that the endless myriads of intelligent beings, in other 
worlds, are all the hearty friends of virtue, of order, and 
of God. 



THE MAGNITUDE OF CREATION 



41 



If this be true, (and there is nothing in philosophy or 
divinity I believe to discredit it,) then Mr. Paine need 
not have supposed, if he could have suppressed the plea 
sure of the witticism, that the Son of God would have to 
travel from world to world in the character of a Redeemer. 

2. Let creation be ever so extensive, there is nothing 
inconsistent icith reason in supposing that some one par 
ticular part of it should be chosen mtt from the rest, as a 
theatre on ichich the great Author of all things would per 
form his most glorious tcorks. Every empire that has been 
founded in this world has had some one particular spot 
where those actions were performed from which its glory 
has arisen. The glory of the Cajsars was founded on the 
event of a battle fought near a very inconsiderable city : 
and why might not this world, though less than " twenty- 
five thousand miles in circumference," be chosen as the 
theatre on which God would bring about events that should 
fill his whole empire with glory and joy t It would be as 
reasonable to plead the insignificance of Actium or Agin- 
court, in objection to the competency of the victories 
then- obtained (supposing them to have been on the side 
of righteousness) to fill the respective empires of Rome 
and Britain with glory, as that of our world to fill the 
whole empire of God with matter of joy and everlasting 
priiNe. The truth is, the comparative dimension of our 
world is of no account. If it be large enough for the 
accomplishment of events which are sufficient to occupy 
the minds of all intelligences, that is all that is required. 

3. If any one part of God's creation, rather than an 
other, possessed a superior fitness to become a theatre on 
\rltich he might display his glory, it should seem to be that 
part where the greatest efforts have been made to' dishonour 
him. A rebellious province in an empire would be the 
fittest place in it to display the justice, goodness, and be- 
niirnity of a government. Here would naturally be erected 
a banner of righteousness ; here the war would be carried 
on ; here pardons and punishments to different characters 
would be awarded ; and here the honours of the govern 
ment would be established on such a basis, that the remot 
est parts of the empire might hear and fear, and learn 
obedience. The part that is diseased, whether in the body 
natural or the body politic, is the part to which the remedy 
is directed. Let there be what number of worlds there 
may, full of intelligent creatures ; yet if there be but one 
world which is guilty and miserable, thither will be di 
rected the operations of mercy. The good shepherd of 
the sheep will leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, 
and seek and save that which is lost. 

4. The events brought to pass in this tcorld, little and 
insignificant as it may be, are competent to fill all and every 
part of God's dominions icith everlasting and increasing 
joy. Mental enjoyment differs widely from corporeal : the 
bestowment of the one upon a great number of objects is 
necessarily attended with a division of it into parts, and 
those who receive a share of it diminish the quantity re 
maining for others that come after them ; but not so the 
other. An intellectual object requires only to be known, 
and it is equally capable of affording enjoyment to a million 
as to an individual, to a world as to those, and to the whole 
universe, be it ever so extensive, as to a world. If, as the 
Scriptures inform us, " God was manifest in the flesh, jus 
tified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the 
Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into 
glory ; if there be enough in this mysterious transaction 
to fill with joy the hearts of all who believe it ; if it be 
BO interesting that the most exalted intelligences become 
comparatively indifferent to every other object, " desiring 
to look into it ;" then is it sufficient to " till all things," 
nd to exhibit the Divine glory " in all places of his do 
minion." * 

M r. Paine allows that it is not a direct article of the 
Christian system that there is not a plurality of inhabited 
worlds ; yet, he affirms, it is so teorked up with the Scrip 
ture account, that, to believe the latter, we must relinquish 
the former as little and ridiculous. 

The Scriptures, it is true, do not teach the doctrine of 
multitude of inhabited worlds ; but neither do they teach 
the contrary. Neither the one nor the other forms any 

1 Pet. i. 12 ; Epli. ir. 10 ; P.aL ciii. 83. 
O 



part of their design. The object they keep in view, though 
Mr. 1'aine may term it "little and ridiculous," is infinitely 
superior to this, both as to utility and magnitude. They 
were not given to teach us astronomy, or geography, or 
civil government, or any science which relates to the 
present life only ; therefore they do not determine upon 
any system of any of these sciences. These are things 
upon which reason is competent to judge, sufficiently at 
least for all the purposes of human life, without a reve 
lation from heaven. The great object of revelation is to 
instruct us in things which pertain to our everlasting 
peace ; and as to other things, even the rise and fall of 
the mightiest empires, they are only touched in an inci 
dental manner, as the mention of them might be necessary 
to higher purposes. The great empires of Babylon, Persia, 
Greece, and Rome are predicted and described in the 
Scriptures, by the rising and ravaging of so many beasts 
of prey. Speaking of the European part of the earth, 
which was inhabited by the posterity of Japheth, they do 
not go about to give an exact geographical description of 
it ; but, by a synecdoche, call it the " isles of the Gen 
tiles ;" f and this, as I suppose, because its eastern bound 
ary, the Archipelago, or Grecian Islands, were situated 
contiguous to the Holy Land. And thus, when speaking 
of the whole creation, they call it " the heavens and the 
earth," as being the whole that comes within the reach of 
our senses. 

It is no dishonour to the Scriptures that they keep to 
their professed end. Though they give us no system of 
astronomy, yet they urge us to study the works of God, 
and teach us to adore him upon every discovery. Though 
they give us no system of geography, yet they encourage 
us to avail ourselves of observation and experience to ob 
tain one ; seeing the whole earth is in prophecy given to 
the Messiah, and is marked out as the field in which his 
servants are to labour. Though they determine not upon 
any mode or system of civil government, yet they teach 
obedience in civil matters to all. And though their at 
tention be mainly directed to things which pertain to the 
life to come, yet, by attending to their instructions, we are 
also fitted for the labours and sufferings of the present life. 

The Scriptures are written in a popular style, as best 
adapted to their great end. If the salvation of philosophers 
only had been their object, the language might possibly 
have been somewhat different ; though even this may be a 
matter of doubt, since the style is suited to the subject, 
and to the great end which they had in view ; but being 
addressed to men of every degree, it was highly proper 
that the language should be fitted to every capacity, and 
suited to their common modes of conception. They speak 
of the foundations of the earth, the ends of the earth, the 
greater and less lights in the heavens, the sun rising, 
standing still, and going down, and many other things in 
the same way. If deists object to these modes of speak 
ing, as conveying ideas which are inconsistent with the 
true theory of the heavens and the earth, let them, if they 
can, substitute others which are consistent : let them, in 
their common conversation, when describing the revo 
lutions of evening and morning, speak of the earth as 
rising and going down, instead of the sun ; and the same 
with regard to the revolution of the planets ; and see if 
men, in common, will better understand them, or whether 
they would be able even to understand one another. The 
popular ideas on these subjects are as much " worked up" 
in the common conversation of philosophers as they are in 
the Scriptures ; and the constant use of such language, 
even by philosophers themselves, in common conversation, 
sufficiently proves the futility and unfairness of their ob 
jecting to revelation on this account. 

By the drift of Mr. Paine's writing, he seems to wish to 
convey the idea that, so contracted were the views of the 
Scriptural writers, that even the globularity of the earth 
was unknown to them. If, however, such a sentence as 
that of Job, " He hangeth the earth upon nothing," J had 
been found in any of the old heathen writers, he would 
readily have concluded that " this idea was familiar to the 
ancients." Or if a heathen poet had uttered such lan 
guage as that of Isaiah " Behold, the nations are as a 



Gen. x. 5 ; Isa. xlix. 1. 



J Chap, xxvi 7. 



42 



REDEMPTION CONSISTENT WITH 



drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the 
halance ; behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little 
thing : all nations before him are as nothing ; and they 
are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity," he 
might have been applauded as possessing a mind as large, 
and nearly as Avell informed, as the geniuses of modern 
times. But the truth is, the Scriptural writers were not 
intent on displaying the greatness of their own concep 
tions, nor even of creation itself ; but rather of the glory 
of Him " who filleth all in all." 

The foregoing observations may suffice to remove Mr. 
Paine's objection ; but if, in addition to them, it can be 
proved that, upon the supposition of a great number of 
inhabited worlds, Christianity, instead of appearing " little 
and ridiculous," is the more enlarged, and that some of its 
difficulties are the more easily accounted for, this will be 
still more satisfactory. Let us therefore proceed, Secondly, 
To offer evidence that THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF RE 
DEMPTION IS STRENGTHENED AND AGGRANDIZED BY THE 
SUPPOSED MAGNITUDE OF CREATION. 

1. The Scripture teaches that God's regard to man is an 
astonishing instance of condescension, and that on account 
of the disparity between him and the celestial creation. 
" When I consider thy heavens," saith David, " the work 
of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast 
ordained ; what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and 
the son of man, that thou visitest him 1" " Will God in 
very deed," saith Solomon, " dwell with men upon the 
earth!"* 

The Divine condescension towards man is a truth upon 
any system ; but, upon the supposition of the heavenly 
bodies being so many inhabited worlds, it is a truth full of 
amazement, and the foregoing language of David and Solo 
mon is forcible beyond all conception. The idea of Him 
who upholds a universe of such extent " by the word of 
his power" becoming incarnate, residing with men, and 
setting up his kingdom among them, that he might raise 
them to eternal glory, as much surpasses all that philoso 
phy calls great and noble as the Creator surpasses the work 
of his hands. 

2. The Scriptures inform us that, before creation was 
begun, our world was marked out by Eternal Wisdom as the 
theatre of its joyful operations. This idea is forcibly ex 
pressed in the eighth chapter of Proverbs : " Before the 
mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought 
forth : while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the 
fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When 
he prepared the heavens, I was there ; when he set a 
compass upon the face of the depth ; when he established 
the clouds above ; when he strengthened the fountains of 
the deep ; when he gave to the sea his decree, that the 
waters should not pass his commandment ; when he ap- 
"ointed the foundations of the earth : then I was by him, 
as one brought up with him : and I was daily his delight, 
rejoicing always before him ; rejoicing in the habitable part 
of his earth ; and my delights were with the sons of men." 

On this interesting passage I shall offer a few remarks. 
First, Among the variety of objects which are here speci 
fied as the works of God, the earth is mentioned as being, 
in a sort, his peculiar property. Doubtless the whole 
creation is the Lord's ; but none of his other works is 
here claimed as his own in the manner that the earth is. 
It is called his earth. And this seems to intimate a de 
sign of rendering it the grand theatre on which his greatest 
work should be performed ; a work that should fill all 
creation with joy and wonder. Secondly, The Wisdom of 
God is described as rejoicing in the contemplation of this 
part of the creation. Whether Wisdom in this passage be 
understood of the promised Messiah, or of a Divine attri 
bute personified, it makes 110 difference as to the argu 
ment. Allow it to mean the latter ; and that the rejoicing 
of Wisdom is a figurative mode of speaking, like that of 
"mercy rejoicing against judgment ;" f still, redemption 
by Jesus Christ is the object concerning which it was ex 
ercised : nothing less can be intimated than this, that the 
earth was the place marked out by Eternal Wisdom as the 

_ Psnl. viii. 3, 4 ; 2 Chron. vi. 18. In this part of the subject con 
siderable use is made of the Scriptures; but it is only for the purpose 
of ascertaining trliat the Christian doctrine of redemption is : and this 
is undoubtedly consistent with every rule of just reasoning, as, 



theatre of its joyful operations. Thirdly, The habitable 
part of the earth was more especially the object of Wis 
dom's joyful contemplation. The abodes of men, which 
through sin had become scenes of abomination, were, by 
the interposition cf the Mediator, to become the abodes 
of righteousness. Here the serpent's head was to be 
bruised, his schemes confounded, and his works destroyed ; 
and that by the " woman's seed," the human nature, 
which he had despised and degraded. Here a trophy was 
to be raised to the glory of sovereign grace ; and millions 
of souls, delivered from everlasting destruction, were to 
present an offering of praise to HIM " that loved them, and 
washed them from their sins in his own blood." Here, 
in a word, the peculiar glory of the Godhead was to be 
displayed in such a manner as to afford a lesson of joyful 
amazement to the whole creation " throughout all ages " 
of time, yea, " world without end." + Lastly, Not only 
were the abodes of men contemplated with rejoicing, bu 
the sons of men themselves regarded with delight. The 
operations of Eternal Wisdom were directed to their salva 
tion ; and their salvation was appointed to become, in re 
turn, a mirror in which the whole creation should behoh 
the operations of Eternal Wisdom. This expressive pas 
sage contains a fulness of meaning, let the extent of the 
intelligent creation be what it may ; but if it be of thai 
extent which modern philosophy supposes, it contains a 
greater fulness still. It perfectly accords with all those 
ideas suggested of this earth being the chosen theatre upon 
which events should be brought to pass that shall fill crea 
tion with everlasting joy ; and well they may, if the pros 
pect of them rejoiced even the heart of God. 

3. The mediation of Christ is represented in Scripture of 
bringing the whole creation into union with the church or 
people of God. In the dispensation of the fulness of times, 
it is said that God would " gather together in one at 
things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are 
on earth, even in him." Again, " It pleased the Father 
that in him should all fulness dwell ; and (having made 
peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile 
all things unto himself ; by him, I say, whether things in 
earth, or things in heaven."|| 

The language here used supposes that the introduction 
of sin has effected a disunion between men and the other 
parts of God's creation. It is natural .to suppose it should 
be so. If a province of a great empire rise up in rebellion 
against the lawful government, all communication between 
the inhabitants of such a province, and the faithful ad 
herents to order and obedience, must be at an end. A 
line of separation would be immediately drawn by the 
sovereign, and all intercourse between the one and the 
other prohibited. Nor would it less accord with the in 
clination than with the duty of all the friends of right 
eousness, to withdraw their connexion from those who 
were in rebellion against the supreme authority and the 
general good. It must have been thus with regard to the 
holy angels, on man's apostacy. Those who at the crea 
tion of our world had sung together, and even shouted for 
joy, would now retire in disgust and holy indignation. 

But, through the mediation of Christ, a reunion is 
effected. By the blood of the cross we have peace with 
God ; and being reconciled to him, are united to all who 
love him throughout the whole extent of creation. If Paul 
could address the Corinthians, concerning one of their ex 
cluded members, who had been brought to repentance, 
" To whom ye forgive any thing, I also ; " much more . 
would the friends of righteousness say, in their addresses 
to the great Supreme, concerning an excluded member 
from the moral system, " To whom thou forgivest any 
thing, we also ! " Hence angels acknowledge Christians 
as brethren, and become ministering spirits to them while 
inhabitants of the present world. H 

There is another consideration which must tend to 
cement the holy part of God's creation to the church ; 
which is, their being all united under one Head. A central 
point of union has a great effect in cementing mankind. 
We see this every day in people who sit under the same 

whether they be true or false, they are the standard by which this 
doctrine is to be measured. 

+ James ii. 18. J Eph. iii. 21. ? Eph. i. 10. 

|| Col. i. 19, 20. It Bev. six. 10; Heb. i. 14. 



THE MAGNITUDE OF CREATION. 



43 



ministry, or serve under the same commander, or are sub 
jects of the same prince ; whether minister, general, or 
prince, if they lore him, they will be, more or less, united 
together under him. 

Now it is a part of the reward of our Redeemer, for his 

great humiliation, that he should be exalted as Head over 

the whole creation of God. " Being found in fashion as a 

man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, 

even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath 

highly exulted him, and given him a name which is above 

name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee should 

! heavenly beings, of earthly, and of those under the 

earth. He is the Head of all principality and power. 

lised him from the dead, and set him at his own 

riirht hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, 

and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that 

is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is 

to come : and put all things under his feet, and gave him 

t<> In- til-- Head over all things to the church, which is his 

. the fulness of him that filleth all in all."* 

These passages, it is true, represent the dominion of 
1 : as extending over the whole creation, enemies as 
well as friends, and things as well as persons. But if the 
nemies of God are caused to subserve the purposes 
of redemption, much more his friends ; what the others 
do l>y constraint, these do willingly ; and the consideration 
of their having one Head must make them feel, as it were, 
nearer akin. And as Christ is " Head over all things to 
therhurch, which is his body," it is hereby intimated that 
the happiness of the church is by these means abundantly 
.red. 

To what extent creation reaches I do not pretend to 
know : be that however what it may, the foregoing pas 
sages teach us to consider the influence of redemption as 
commensurate with it ; and in proportion to the magni 
tude of the one, such must be the influence of the other, 
as to the accomplishment of reunion and the restoration 
of happiness. 

4. Through the mediation of Christ, not only is the whole 
creation represented as augmenting the blessedness of the 
church, but the church as augmenting the blessedness of the 
whole creation. As one member, be it ever so small, can 
not suffer without the whole body, in some degree, suffer 
ing with it ; so, if we consider our world as a member of 
the great body or system of being, it might naturally be 
supposed that the ill or well being of the former would, in 
some measure, affect the happiness of the latter. The fall 
of a planet from its orbit, in the solar system, would pro 
bably have a less effect upon the other planets, than that 
of man from the moral system upon the other parts of 
God's intelligent creation. And when it is considered 
that man is a member of the body, distinguished by sove 
reign favour, as possessing a nature which the Son of God 
delighted to honour, by taking it upon himself, the interest 
which the universe at large may have in his fall and re 
covery may be greatly augmented. The leprosy of Miriam 
was an event that affected the whole camp of Israel ; nor 
did they proceed on their journeys till she was restored to 
h'-r situation ; and it is not unnatural to suppose that 
something analogous to this would be the effect of the fall 
and recovery of man on the whole creation. 

The happiness of the redeemed is not the ultimate end 
of redemption, nor the only happiness which will be pro 
duced by it. God is represented in the Scriptures as con- 
bning his favours in such a way as that no creature shall 
he Messed merely for his own sake, but that he might com 
municate his blessedness to others. With whatever powers, 
talents, or advantages we are endued, it is not merely for 
our gratification, but that we may contribute to the gene 
ral good. God gives discernment to the eye, speech to the 
ton^ii, , strength to the arm, and agility to the feet, not 
for the gratification of these members, but for the accom 
modation of the body. It is the same in other things. 
God blessed Abraham ; and wherefore t That he might 
te a blessing. He blessed his posterity after him ; and for 
vhat purpose ^ That " in them all the nations of the 
artli might be blessed."t Though Israel was a nation 
hoscn and beloved of God, yet it was not for their right- 

Phil. ii. ft 10 ; Col. u. 10 ; Eph. L 2082. 
T Gen. xii. 2 ; xxii. 18. * Deut. ix. 5 ; vu. 7, 8. 1 PaL Ixvii. 



eousness, nor merely with a view to their happiness, that 
they were thus distinguished ; but that he " might per 
form the oath which lie sware unto their fathers ;"+ the 
sulistaiu ( of which was that the true religion should pros 
per among them, and be communicated by them to all 
other nations. The ungodly part of the Jewish nation 
viewed things, it is true, in a different light ; they valued 
themselves as the favourites of Heaven, and looked down 
upon other nations with contemptuous dislike. But it 
was otherwise with the godly ; they entered into the spirit 
of the promise made to their fathers. Hence they prayed 
that God would " be merciful to them, and bless them, 
and cause his face to ahine upon them ;" to the end, that 
his " way might be known upon earth, and his saving 
health among all nations. " 

The same spirit was manifested by the apostles and 
primitive Christians. They perceived that all that rich 
measure of gifts and graces by which they were distin 
guished was given them with the design of their communi 
cating it to others ; and this was their constant aim. Paul 
felt himself a debtor both to Jews and Greeks, and spent 
his life in diffusing the blessings of the gospel, though in 
return he was continually treated as an evil-doer ; ami the 
same might be said of the other apostles. 

Nor is this social principle confined to the present life. 
According to Scripture representations, the happiness of 
saints in glory will be conferred on them, not that it might 
stop there, but be communicated to the whole moral sys 
tem. The redemption of the church has already added to 
the blessedness of other holy intelligences. It has fur 
nished a new medium by which the glory of the Divine 
perfections is beheld and admired. To explore the wis 
dom of God in his works is the constant employment of 
holy angels, and that in which consists a large proportion 
of their felicity. Prior to the accomplishment of the work 
of redemption they contemplated the Divine character 
through the medium of creation and providence ; but 
" nmo unto principalities and powers, in heavenly places, 
is known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God." || 
And so much does this last display of Divine glory exceed 
all that have gone before it, that those who have once ob 
tained a view of it, through this medium, will certainly 
prefer it to every other ; " which things the angels desire 
to look into."1T They do not, however, become indifferent 
to any of the Divine operations ; creation and providence 
continue to attract their attention, and are abundantly 
more interesting ; they now study them according to the 
order in which they exist in the Divine mind, that is, in 
subserviency to redemption.** 

But that which is already accomplished is but small in 
comparison of what is in reserve. At the final judgment, 
when all the faithful will be collected together, they will 
become a medium through which the Lord Jesus will be 
glorified and admired by the whole creation : " He shall 
come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in 
all them that believe in that day. "ft It is a truth that 
the saints of God will themselves glorify and admire their 
great Deliverer, but not the truth of this passage ; the de 
sign of which is to represent them as a medium through 
which he shall be glorified by all the friends of God in the 
universe. The great Physician will appear with his re 
covered millions, every one of whom will afford evidence 
of his disinterested love, and efficacious blood, to the whole 
admiring creation. 

Much the same ideas are conveyed to us by those repre 
sentations in which the whole creation are either called 
upon to rejoice on account of our redemption, or described 
as actually rejoicing and praising the Redeemer. Thus 
David, having spoken of God's mercy which was from 
everlasting to everlasting towards the children of men, 
addresses ALL HIS WORKS, IN ALL PLACES OF HIS DOMINION, 
" to hless his name." JJ John also informs us, saying, " I 
heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, 
and the living creatures, and the elders : and the number 
of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thou 
sands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is 
the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and 
wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 

|| Eph. iii. 10. V 1 Pet. L 12. Col. i. 16. by him, and for him. 
H 2 The. i. 10. PwU. Jii 1722. 



44 



REDEMPTION CONSISTENT WITH 



And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, 
and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all 
that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, 
and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the 
throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." * 

The phraseology of these passages is such that no one 
can reasonably doubt whether the writers intended to 
express the whole upright intelligent creation, be it of 
what extent it may ; and if it be of that extent which 
philosophy supposes, the greater must be the influence and 
importance of the work of redemption. 

5. The Scriptures give us to expect that the earth itself, 
as well as its redeemed inhabitants, shall at a future period 
be purified, and reunited to the whole empire of God. We 
are taught to pray, and consequently to hope, that, when 
" the kingdom of God " shall universally prevail, " his 
will shall be done on earth as it is note in heaven ; " f 
but if so, earth itself must become, as it were, a part of 
heaven. 

That we may form a clear and comprehensive view of 
our Lord's words, and of this part of the subject, be it 
observed that the Scriptures sometimes distinguish between 
the kingdom of God and that of Christ. Though the ob 
ject of both be the triumph of truth and righteousness, 
yet the mode of administration is different. The one is 
natural, the other delegated : the latter is in subserviency 
to the former, and shall be finally succeeded by it. Christ 
is represented as acting in our world by delegation ; as if 
a king had commissioned his son to go and reduce a certain 
rebellious province, and restore it to his dominion. The 
period allotted for this work extends from the time of the 
revelation of the promised Seed to the day of judgment. 
The operations are progressive. If it had seemed good in 
his sight, he could have overturned the power of Satan in 
a short period ; but his wisdom saw fit to accomplish it 
by degrees. Like the commander of an invading army, 
he first takes possession of one post, then of another, 
then of a third, and so on, till by and by the whole coun 
try falls into his hands. And as the progress of a conqueror 
would be more rapid after a few of the strongest fortresses 
had surrendered, (inasmuch as things would then approach 
fast to a crisis, to a breaking up, as it were, of the powers 
of the enemy,) so it has been with the kingdom of Christ, 
and such will be its progress before the end of time. In 
the early ages of the world but little was done. At one 
time true religion appears to have existed only in a few 
families. Afterwards it assumed a national appearance. 
After this it was addressed to all nations. And before 
the close of time all nations shall be subjected to the obe 
dience of Christ. This shall be the " breaking up " of 
Satan's empire. Now as, on the conquest of a rebellious 
province, the delegated authority of the conqueror would 
cease, and the natural government of the empire resume 
its original form, so Christ is represented as " delivering 
up the kingdom to his Father, that God may be all in 
all." J This is the ultimatum of the Messiah's kingdom ; 
and this appears to be the ultimate object for which he 
taught his disciples to pray : but as the final end involves 
the preceding gradations which lead on to its accomplish 
ment, in directing them to pray for the coming of God's 
kingdom, he directed them to pray for the present preva 
lence of his own. 

As on the conquest of a rebellious province some would 
be pardoned, and others punished ; as every vestige of 
rebellion would be effaced, and law, peace, and order flow 
in their ancient channels ; such a period might with pro 
priety be termed " a restitution of all things." Such 
will be the event of the last judgment, which is described 
as the concluding exercise of the delegated authority of 
Christ. 

And as on the conquest of a rebellious province, and 
the restitution of peace and order, that province, instead 
of being any longer separate from the rest of the empire, 
would become a component part of it, and the king's will 
would be done in it as it had been done without inter 
ruption in the loyal part of his territories ; such is the 
representation given with reepect to our world, and the 
holy parts of God's dominions. A period will arrive when 

* Bev. v. 11-13. + Matt. vi. 10. 

t 1 Cor. xv. 24. 28. 



the will of God shall be done on earth as it is now don- 
in heaven. This, however, will never be the case while 
any vestige of moral evil remains. ' It must be after the 
general conflagration ; which, though it will destroy every 
kind of evil, root and branch, that now prevails upon the 
face of the earth, and will terminate the generations of 
Adam, who have possessed it, yet will not so destroy the 
earth itself but that it shall survive its fiery trial, and, as 
I apprehend, become the everlasting abode of righteousness 
a part of the holy empire of God. This was to be the 
mark on which the disciples were to keep their eye in all 
their prayers : but as, in desiring a perfect conformity to 
Christ in their own souls, they would necessarily desire 
the present progress of purity in the use of all the appointed 
means ; so in praying that God's will might be perfectly 
done on earth, even as it is done in heaven, they would 
pray for the progressive prevalence of righteousness in the 
world, as that by which it should be accomplished. 

It is not improbable that the earth, thus purified, may 
ever continue the resort, if not the frequent abode, of those 
who are redeemed from it. . Places where some of the 
most interesting events have been transacted, when visited 
at some distance of time, often become, in the present 
state of things, a considerable source of delight. Such 
was Bethel to Jacob, and Tabor, no doubt, to the three 
disciples ; and if any remains of our present sensations 
should attend us in a state of immortality, a review of the 
scenes of our Lord's birth, life, agony, and crucifixion, as 
well as many other events, may furnish a source of ever-? 
lasting enjoyment. 

However this may be, the Scriptures give us to under 
stand, that though " the elements shall melt with fervent 
heat, and the earth, and the works that are therein, shall 
be burnt up;" yet, "according to promise," we are to 
" look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth 
righteousness." || By the " new heavens " here is plainly 
to be understood so much of the elements as shall ha' 
been affected by the general conflagration ; and by " tl 
new earth," the earth after it is purified by it. 

Much to the same purpose is the account given towa 
the close of the Revelation of John. After a descripti 
of the general judgment, it follows, " And I saw a new 
heaven and a new earth ; for the first heaven and the first 
earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, 
new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, 
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." When the 
earth shall have become a part of God's holy empire, heaven 
itself may then be said to be come down upon it ; seeing 
all that is now ascribed to the one will be true of 
other. " Behold, the tabernacle of God shall be wi 
men, and he will dwell with them ; and they shall be 
people, and God himself shall be with them, and shall 
their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from the: 
eyes ; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, 
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the 
former things shall be passed away. And he that sat upon 
the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he 
said unto me, Write ; for these words are true and faith 
ful." IT 

If the great end of redemption be the reunion of this 
world to the holy empire of God, and if such reunion bft 
accompanied with a mutual augmentation of blessedness, 
then the importance of the one must bear some proper-; 
tion to the magnitude of the other. Upon any system of 
philosophy, redemption is great ; but upon that which so: 
amazingly magnifies intelligent creation, it must be great 
beyond expression. 

6. The Scriptures represent the punishment of the finally 
impenitent as appointed for an example to the rest of the 
creation. " Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about 
them, in giving themselves over to fornication, and going 
after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering 
the vengeance of eternal fire." "And her smoke" (the 
smoke of Babylon) " rose up for ever and ever. And; 
the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures; 
fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, 
saying, Amen ; Alleluia."** 

The miseries of the damned are never represented as 



? Acts iii. 21. 
U Eev. xxi. 15. 



|| 2 Pet. iii. 12, 13. 
Jude7; Rev. xix. 3, 4. 



THE MAGNITUDE OF CREATION. 



45 



inflicted upon them from such a kind of wrath or venge 
ance as bears no relation to the general good. " God is 
love ;" and in none of his proceedings does he violate this 
principle, or lose sight of the well-being of creation in 
general. The manifestation of his glory is not only in 
separably connected with this object, but consists in ac 
complishing it. 

It is necessary for the general good that God's abhor 
rence of moral evil should be marked by some strong and 
durable expression of it, so that no one subject of his 
empire can overlook it. Such an expression was the death 
of Christ, his only begotten Son ; and this availeth on be 
half of all who acquiesce in his salvation : but all who do 
not, or who possess not such a temper of heart as would 
acquiesce in it if it were presented to them, must them- 
srl\'-s be made sacrifices to his justice ; and so, like ene 
mies and traitors to a human government, must be made 
to answer such an end by their death as shall counteract 
the ill example afforded by their life. What is said of the 
barren vine is applicable to the finally impenitent, " It is 
not fit for any work it is good for nothing but to be 
burned!"* The only way in which they promote the 
general good is by their overthrow ; like the censers of 
Korah and his company, which were made into " broad 
plates for a covering to the altar, that they might be a 
sign to the children of Israel in future generations ; "f or 
like Lot's wife, who was converted into a " pillar of salt," 
or a lasting monument of Divine displeasure ! 

If the grand end of future punishment be example, this 
must suppose the existence of an intelligent creation, who 
shall profit by it ; and it should seem of a creation of mag 
nitude ; as it accords with the conduct of neither God nor 
man to punish a great number for an example to a few. 

This truth affords a satisfactory idea of the Divine go 
vernment, whether there be a multiplicity of inhabited 



worlds or not ; but if there be, it is still more satisfactory ; 
as on this supposition the number of those who shall be 
finally lost may bear far less proportion to the whole of 
the intelligent creation than a single execution to the in 
habitants of a great empire. It is true the loss to those 
who are lost will be nothing abated by this consideration ; 
perhaps, on the contrary, it may be augmented ; and to 
them the Divine government will ever appear gloomy : but 
to those who judge of things impartially, and upon an ex 
tensive scale, it will appear to contain no more of a dis 
paragement to the government of the universe than the 
execution of a murderer, once in a hundred years, would 
be to the government of a nation. 

And now I appeal to the intelligent, the serious, and 
the candid reader, whether there be any truth in what 
Mr. Paine asserts, that to admit " that God created a 
plurality of worlds, at least as numerous as what we call 
stars, renders the Christian system of faith at once little 
and ridiculous, and scatters it in the mind like feathers in 
the air." On the contrary, it might be proved that every 
system of philosophy is little in comparison of Christianity. 
Philosophy may expand our ideas of creation ; but it 
neither inspires a love to the moral character of the Cre 
ator, nor a well-grounded hope of eternal life. Philosophy, 
at most, can only place us at the top of Pisgah : there, like 
Moses, we must die ; it gives us no possession of the good 
land. It is the province of Christianity to add, " All is 
yours ! " When you have ascended to the height of human 
discovery, there are things, and things of infinite moment 
too, that are utterly beyond its reach. Revelation is the 
medium, and the only medium, by which, standing, as it 
were, " on nature's Alps," we discover things which eye 
hath not seen, nor ear heard, and of which it never hath 
entered into the heart of man to conceive. 



CONCLUDING ADDRESSES 



DEISTS, JEWS, AND CHRISTIANS. 



Whether the writer of these sheets can juitly hope that what he advance* will attract the attention of unbelievers, he does not pretend to gay. 
If, however, it should fall into the hands of individuals among them, he earnestly entreats that, for their own sakes, they would attend to 



irb.it follows with seriousness. 



TO DEISTS. 

FELLOW MEN, 

IT U hoped that nothing in the preceding pages can be 
fairly construed into a want of good-will towards any of 
you. If I know my heart, it is not you, but your mis 
chievous principles, that are the objects of my dislike. 

In the former part of this performance, I have endea 
voured to prove that the system which you embrace over 
looks the moral character of God, refuses to worship him, 
affords no standard of right and wrong, undermines the 
most efficacious motives to virtuous action, actually pro 
duces a torrent of vice, and leaves mankind, under all their 
miseries, to perish without hope ; in fine, that it is an im 
moral system, pregnant with destruction to the human 
race. Unless you be able to overlook what is there ad- 



Eiek. xv. 85. 



+ Numb. xvi. 38. 



vanced, or at least be conscious that it is not true with re 
gard to yourselves, you have reason to be seriously alarmed. 
To embrace a system of immorality is the same thing as 
to be enemies to all righteousness, neither to fear God nor 
regard man ; and what good fruit you can expect to reap 
from it, in this world or another, it is difficult to conceive. 
But, alas! instead of being alarmed at the immorality of 
your principles, is there no reason to suspect that it is on 
this very account you cherish them 1 You can occasionally 
praise the morality of Jesus Christ ; but are you sincere 1 
Why then do you not walk by it 1 However you may 
magnify other difficulties, which you have industriously 
laboured to discover in the Bible, your actions declare that 
it is the holiness of its doctrines and precepts that more 
than any thing else offend you. The manifest object at 
which you aim, both for yourselves and the world, is an 
exemption from its restraints. Your general conduct, if 
put into words, amounts to this : " Come, let us break his 
bands, and cast away his cords from us." 

Circumstances of late years have much favoured your 






46 



ADDRESS TO DEISTS. 



design. Your party has gained the ascendency in a great 
nation, and has been consequently increasing in other na 
tions. Hence it is, perhaps, that your spirits are raised, 
and that a higher tone is assumed in your speeches and 
writings than has been usual on former occasions. You 
are great, you are enlightened; yes, you have found out 
the secret, and have only to rid the world of Christianity 
in order to render it happy. But be not too confident. 
You are not the first who have set themselves against the 
Lord, and against his Anointed. You have overthrown 
superstition ; but vaunt not against Christianity. Of a 
truth you have destroyed the gods of Rome, for they were 
no gods ; but let this suffice you. It is hard to kick 
against the pricks. 

"Whatever success may attend your cause, if it be an 
immoral one, and espoused on that very account, it cannot 
possibly stand. It must fall, and you may expect to be 
buried in its ruins. It may be thought sufficient for me 
to reason on the system itself, without descending to the 
motives of those who imbibe it ; but where motives are 
manifested by actions, they become objects of human cog 
nizance. Nor is there any hope of your unbelief being 
removed, but by something that shall reach the cause of it. 
My desire is neither to insult nor flatter, but seriously to 
expostulate with you ; if God peradventure may give you 
repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth. Three 
things, in particular, I would earnestly recommend to your 
serious consideration. How it was that you first imbibed 
your present principles How it is that almost all your 
writers, at one time or other, bear testimony in favour of 
Christianity and How it comes to pass that your prin 
ciples fail you, as they are frequently known to do, in a 
dying hour. 

First, How WAS IT THAT YOU FIRST RENOUNCED CHRIS 
TIANITY, AND IMBIBED YOUR PRESENT PRINCIPLES 7 Re 
trace the process of your minds, and ask your consciences, 
as you proceed, whether all was fair and upright. Nothing 
is more common than for persons of relaxed morals to at 
tribute their change of conduct to a change of sentiments 
or views relative to those subjects. It is galling to one's 
own feelings, and mean in the account of others, to act 
against principle ; but if a person can once persuade himself 
to think favourably of those things which he has formerly 
accounted sinful, and can furnish a plea for them, which, 
at least, may serve to parry the censures of mankind, he 
will feel much more at ease, and be able to put on a bet 
ter face when he mingles in society. Whatever inward 
stings may annoy his peace under certain occasional qualms, 
yet he has not to reproach himself, nor can others re 
proach him, with that inconsistency of character as in 
former instances. Rousseau confesses he found, in the 
reasonings of a certain lady, with whom he lived in the 
greatest possible familiarity, all those ideas which he had 
occasion for. Have you not found the same in the con 
versation and writings of deists t Did you not, previously 
to your rejection of Christianity, indulge in vicious courses ; 
and while indulging in these courses, did not its holy 
precepts and awful threatenings gall your spirits 1 "Were 
you not like persons gathering forbidden fruit amidst 
showers of arrows ; and had you not recourse to your pre 
sent principles for a shield against them 1 If you cannot 
honestly answer these questions in the negative, you are 
in an evil case. You may flatter yourselves, for a while, 
that perhaps there may be no hereafter, or at least no 
judgment to come ; but you know the time is not far dis 
tant when you must go and see ; and then, if you should 
be mistaken, what will you do 1 

Many of you have descended from godly parents, and 
have had a religious education. Has not your infidelity 
arisen from the dislike which you conceived in early life to 
religious exercises 1 Family worship was a weariness to 
you ; and the cautions, warnings, and counsels which 
were given you, instead of having any proper effect, only 
irritated your corruptions. You longed to be from under 
the yoke. Since that time your parents, it may be, have 
been removed by death ; or if they live, they may have 
lost their control over you. So now you are free. But 
still something is wanting to erase the prejudices of educa- 

Works, Vol. IV. pp. 394, 395; Vol. V. pp. 188, 189. 



tion, which, in spite of all your efforts, will accompany 
you, and imbitter your present pursuits. For this pur 
pose, a friend puts into your hands The Age of Reason,- or 
some production of the kind. You read it with avidity. 
This is the very thing you wanted. You have long sus 
pected the truth of Christianity, but had not courage to 
oppose it. Now then you are a philosopher ; yes, a philo- 
pher ! " Our fathers," say you, " might be well-meaning 
people, but they were imposed upon by priests. The world 
gets more enlightened now-a-days. There is no need of 
such rigidness. The Supreme Being (if there be one) cau 
never have created the pleasures of life but for the pur 
pose of enjoyment. Avaunt, ye self-denying casuists ! 
Nature is the law of man ! " 

Was not this, or something nearly resembling it, the 
process of your minds 1 And are you now satisfied t I 
do not ask whether you have been able to defend your 
cause against assailants, nor whether you have gained con 
verts to your way of thinking : you may have done both ; 
but are you satisfied with yourselves 1 Do you really be 
lieve yourselves to be in the right way ^ Have you no 
misgivings of heart 1 Is there not something within yov 
which occasionally whispers, " My parents were right 
eous, and I am wicked : oh that my soul were in thei] 
souls' stead 1 " 

Ah, young men ! if such be the occasional revoltings o 
your mind, what are you doing in labouring to gain othen 
over to your way of thinking ? Can you from experienc< 
honestly promise them peace of mind I Can you go abou 
to persuade them that there is no hell, when, if you woulc 
speak the truth, you must acknowledge that you have al 
ready an earnest of it kindled in your bosoms 1 If coun 
sels were not lost upon you, I would entreat you to be 
contented with destroying your own souls. Have pity on 
your fellow creatures, if you have none upon yourselves. 
Nay, spare yourselves so much, at least, as not to incur the 
everlasting execrations of your most intimate acquaintance. 
If Christianity should prove what your consciences in your 
most serious moments tell you it is, you are doing this 
every day of your lives. 

Secondly, Consider How IT is THAT ALMOST ALL YOUR 

WRITERS, AT ONE TIME OR OTHER, BEAR TESTIMONY IN 

FAVOUR OF CHRISTIANITY. It were easy to collect, from 
those very writings which were designed to undermine the 
Christian religion, hundreds of testimonies in its favour. 
Voltaire and Rousseau, as we have seen already, have in 
their fits gone far towards contradicting all which they 
have written against it. Bolingbroke has done the same. 
Such sentences as the following may be found in his pub 
lications : " Supposing Christianity to have been a human 
invention, it has been the most amiable invention that was 
ever imposed on mankind for their good. Christianity, a 
it came out of the hand of God, if I may use the expression 
was a most simple and intelligible rule of belief, worship 
and manners, which is the true notion of a religion. Th 
gospel is in all cases one continued lesson of the strictes 
morality, of justice, of benevolence, and of universa. 
charity." * Paine, perhaps, has said as little in this wa; 
as any of your writers, yet he has professed a respect fo 
the character of Jesus Christ. " He was," says he, 
virtuous and an amiable man. The morality he preachec 
and practised was of the most benevolent kind."t 

In what manner will you go about to account for these 
concessions 'J Christian writers, those at least who are 
sincerely attached to the cause, are not seized with these 
fits of inconsistency. How is it that yours, like the wor 
shippers of Baal, should thus be continually cutting them 
selves with knives t You must either give up your lead 
ers as a set of men who, while they are labouring to 
persuade the world of the hypocrisy of priests, were them 
selves the most infamous of all hypocrites ; or, which will 
be equally fatal to your cause, you must attribute it to oc 
casional convictions, which they felt and expressed, though 
contrary to the general strain of their writings. Is it not 
an unfavourable character of your cause, that in this par 
ticular it exactly resembles that of vice itself! Vicious 
men will often bear testimony in favour of virtue, espe 
cially on the near approach of death ; but virtuous men 



+ Age of Reason, Part I. p. 5. 



ADDRESS TO DEISTS. 



47 



never return the compliment by bearing testimony in fa- 
Tour of vice. We are not afraid of Christians thus betray 
ing their cause ; but neither your writers nor your con- 
scii'ii<v< an- to be trusted in a serious hour. 

Thirdly, Consider How IT COMES TO PASS THAT YOUR 

riSIM Il'LES FAIL YOU, AS THEY ARE FREQUENTLY KNOWN 

T<> i">, IN A DYING HOUR. It is a rule with wise men, 
' -<> to live as they shall wish they had when they come 
to die." How do you suppose you shall wish you had 
lived in that dayt Look at the deaths of your greatest 
men, and see what their principles have done for them at 
last. Mark the end of that apostle and high priest of 
your profession, Voltaire ; and try if you can find in it 
either integrity, or hope, or any thing that should render 
it an object of envy.* Why is it that so many of you 
faint in the day of trial t If your cause were good, you 
would defend it with uprightness, and die with inward 
satisfaction. But is it so 1 Mr. Paine flatters himself that 
his principles will bear him up in the prospect of death ;f 
and it is possible that he may brave it out in some such 
manner as David Hume did. Such instances, however, 
are rare. For one unbeliever that maintains his courage, 
many might be produced whose hearts have failed them, 
and who have trembled for the consequences of their 
Infidelity. 

On the other hand, you cannot produce a single instance 
of a Christian, who at the approach of death was troubled 
or terrified in his conscience for having been a Christian. 
have been afraid in that day lest their faith in Christ 
should not prove genuine ; but who that has put his trust 
in him was ever known to be apprehensive lest he should 
nt last deceive him t Can you account for this difference t 
If you have discovered the true religion, and ours be all 
fable and imposture, how comes it to pass that the issue 
of thinj^ is -what it is 1 Do gold, and silver, and precious 
stones perish in the fire! and do wood, and hay, and stubble 
endure it 1 

I have admitted that Mr. Paine may possibly brave it 
out to the last ; but if he does, his courage may be merely 
assumed. Pride will induce men to disguise the genuine 
feelings of their hearts on more occasions than one. We 
hear much of courage among duellists ; but little credit is 
due to what they say, if, while the words proceed from 
their lips, we see them approach each other with paleness 
and trembling. Yea more, if Mr. Paine's courage in death 
be not different from what it already is in the prospect of 
it, it certainly trill be merely assumed. He has given full 
proof of what his courage amounts to in what he has ad 
vanced on the certainty of a future state. He acknow 
ledges the possibility of a future judgment ; yea, he admits 
it to be rational to believe that there will be one. " The 
Power," he says, " that called us into being, can, if he 
please, and when he pleases, call us to account for the 
manner in which we have lived here ; and therefore, with 
out seeking any further motive for the belief, it is rational 
to believe that he will, for we know beforehand that he 
can."* I shall not stop to inquire into the justness of 
Mr. Paine's reasoning, from what God can do to what he 
will do ; it is sufficient for me that he admits it to be 
11 rational to believe that God will call men to account for 
the manner in which they have lived here." And can he 
admit this truth, and not tremble ! Mark his firmness. 
After acknowledging that a future judgment is the object 
of rational belief, he retracts what he has said by reducing 
it to only a probability, which is to have the influence of 
belief; yea, and as if that were too terrible an idea, he 
brings it down to a mere possibility. The reason which 
he gives for these reductions is, that " if we knew it as a 
fact, \ve should be the mere slaves of terror." Indeed ! 
But wherefore 1 Christians believe in a judgment to come, 
and they are not the slaves of terror. They have an 

The following' particulars, among 1 many other*, are recorded of 
us writer by his biographer, Condorcet, a roan after his own heart. 
*' That he conceived the design of overturning the Christian re- 
Pft * n(1 that by his own hand. "I am wearied," said he, "of 
[^pr t repeated that twelve men were sufficient to establish Chris 
tianity; and I Uh to prove there needs but one to destroy it." 
Secondly, That in pursuit of this object he was threatened with a per 
secution, to avoid which he received the sacrament, and publicly de 
clared iiis respect for the church, and his disdain of his detractors, 
namely, those who had called in question hit Christianity ! Thirdly, 



Advocate as well as a Judge, by believing in whom the 
terror of judgment is removed. And though Mr. Paine 
rejects this ground of consolation, yet if things be as he 
has represented them, I do not perceive why he should be 
terrified. He writes as though he stood on a very respect 
able footing with his Creator ; he is not " an outcast, a 
beggar, or a worm ; " he needs no mediator : no indeed ! 
He " stands in the same relative condition with his Maker 
he ever did stand since man existed." Very well : of 
what then is he afraid! "God is good, and will exceed 
the very best of us in goodness." On this ground, Lord 
Shaftesbury assures us, " Deists can have no dread or sus 
picion to render them uneasy ; for it is malice only, and 
not goodness, which can make them afraid." || Very well, 
I say again, of what then is Mr. Paine afraid t If a Being 
full of goodness will not hurt him, he will not be hurt. 
Why should he be terrified at a certain hereafter. Why 
not meet his Creator with cheerfulness and confidence t 
Instead of this, he knows of no method by which he may 
be exempted from terror but that of reducing future judg 
ment to a mere possibility ; leaving room for some faint 
hope, at least, that what he professes to believe as true 
may, in the end, prove false. : Such is the courage of your 
blusf ering hero. Unhappy man ; unhappy people ! Your 
principles will not support you in death, nor so much as 
in the contemplation of an hereafter. 

Let Mr. Paine's hypothesis be admitted, and that in its 
lowest form, that there is only a possibility of a judgment 
to come, this is sufficient to evince your folly, and, if you 
thought on the subject, to destroy your peace. This alone 
has induced many of you in your last moments to wish 
that you had lived like Christians. If it be possible that 
there may be a judgment to come, why should it not be 
equally possible that Christianity itself may be true 
And if it should, on what ground do you stand t If it be 
otherwise, Christians have nothing to fear. While they 
are taught to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to 
live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, 
whatever may prove true with respect to another, it is 
presumed they are safe ; but if that Saviour whom you 
have despised should be indeed the Son of God if that 
name which you have blasphemed should be the only one 
given under heaven and among men by which you can 
be saved what a situation must you be in ! You may 
wish at present not to be told of him ; yea, even in death 
it may be a vexation, as it was to Voltaire, to hear of him ; 
but hear of him you must, and, what is more, you must 
app*ear before him. 

I cannot conclude this address without expressing my 
earnest desire for your salvation ; and whether you will 
hear, or whether you will forbear, reminding you that our 
Redeemer is merciful. He can have compassion on the 
ignorant, and them who are out of the way. The door of 
mercy is not yet shut. At present you are invited and 
even entreated to enter in. But if you still continue 
hardened against him, you may find to your cost that the 
abuse of mercy gives an edge to justice ; and that to be 
crushed to atoms by falling rocks, or buried in oblivion at 
the bottom of mountains, were rather to be chosen than 
an exposure to the wrath of the Lamb. 



TO THE JEWS. 

BELOVED FOR TUB FATHERS* SAKES ! 

HE whom you have long rejected looked upon Jerusalem 
and wept over it. With tears he pronounced upon that 

That in his last illness, in Paris, being desirous of obtaining what is 
called Christian burial, he sent for a priest, to whom he declared that 
he " died in the catholic faith, in which he was born." Fourthly, That 
another priest (curate of the parish) troubled him with questions. 
Among other things he asked, " Do you believe the Divinity of Jesus 
Christ!" "In the name of God, sir," replied Voltaire, "epcak to 
me no more of that man, but let me die in peace." 

+ Age of Reason. Part II. Preface. 

i Age of Reason, Part II. p. 100. 

t Age of Beaton, Part I. p. 21. || Characteristics, Vol. I. I 5. 



48 



ADDRESS TO THE JEWS. 



famous city a doom, which, according to your own writer, 
Josephus, was soon afterwards accomplished. In imitation 
of our Lord and Saviour, we also could weep over your 
present situation. There are thousands in Britain, as 
well as in other nations, whose daily prayer is, that you 
may he saved. Hear me patiently and candidly. Your 
present and everlasting good is the object of my desire. 

It is not my design, in this brief address, to go over the 
various topics in dispute between us. Many have engaged 
in this work, and I hope to some good purpose. The late 
addresses to you, both from the pulpit and the press, as 
they were dictated by pure benevolence, certainly deserve, 
and I trust have gained, in some degree, your candid at 
tention. All I shall say will be comprised in a few sug 
gestions, which I suppose to arise from the subject of the 
preceding pages. 

You have long sojourned among men who have been 
called Christians. You have seen much evil in them, and 
they have seen much in you. The history of your own 
nation, and that of every other, confirms one of the leading 
doctrines of both your and our Scriptures the depravity 
of human nature. But in your commerce with mankind, 
you must have had opportunity of distinguishing between 
nominal and serious Christians. Great numbers in your 
nation, even in its best days, were wicked men ; and great 
numbers in every nation, at present, are the same. But 
cannot you perceive a people scattered through various 
denominations of Christians, who fear God and regard 
man ; who, instead of treating you with a haughty con 
tempt, as being strangers scattered among the nations, 
discover a tender regard towards you on that very account ; 
who, while they are grieved for the hardness of your hearts, 
and hurt at your scornful rejection of Him whom their 
soul loveth, are nevertheless ardently desirous of your sal 
vation 1 Are you not acquainted with Christians whose 
utmost revenge, could they have their will of you, for all 
your hard speeches, would be to be instrumental in turning 
you, from what they believe to be the power of Satan, 
unto God ! 

Let me further appeal to you, Whether Christians of this 
description be not the true children of Abraham, the true 
successors of your patriarchs and prophets, rather than 
those of an opposite spirit, though literally descended from 
their loins. You must be aware that, even in the times of 
David, a genuine Israelite was a man of a pure heart ; 
and, in the times of the prophets, apostate Israelites were 
accounted as " Ethiopians."* Your ancestors were men 
of whom the world was not worthy : but where will you 
now look for such characters among you as Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob ; as Samuel, David, Hezekiah, and Josiah ; as 
Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and many others 1 While you 
garnish their sepulchres, have you not manifestly lost their 
spirit 1 This is a fact that ought to alarm you, and lead 
you seriously to examine whether you have not forsaken 
their faith. One thing, which has particularly struck my 
mind, I would earnestly recommend to your consideration ; 
namely, the temper of modern infidels towards your fathers, 
imcards you, and towards us. 

You need not be told that deistical writers invariably 
treat your fathers with scorn and dislike. Just as Appion 
and other Greek writers poured contempt upon your na 
tion ; just as the more ancient " Moabites " reproached 
and " proudly magnified themselves against the people of 
the Lord of hosts ;"f so do all our modern infidels. But 
from the time that your fathers rejected Him in whom we 
believe as the Lord Messiah, though you have been ex 
posed to the chastisements of Heaven, and to much injuri 
ous treatment from pretended Christians ; yet deists, the 
common enemies of revelation, have been, comparatively 
speaking, reconciled to you. So, however, it appears to 
me. I do not recollect to have met with a single reflec 
tion upon you in any of their writings. On the contrary, 
they seem to feel themselves near akin to you. Your en 
mity to Jesus seems to be the price of their forgiveness : 
like Herod and Pontius Pilate, you became friends in the 
day of his crucifixion. Mr. Paine, though his writings 
abound in sneers against your nation prior to its rejection 

Amos ix. 7. + Zeph. ii. 10. t Age of Beason, Part I. pp. 6, 7. 

J Psal. xxii. 8 ; iv. 2 ; xlii. 3 ; xl. 15. 

I) Psal. Ixix. 10; cxv. 2; Joel ii. 17; Micah vii. 810; Isa. Ixvi. 5. 



of Christ, yet appears to be well reconciled to you, and 
willing to admit your lame account of the body of Jesus 
being stolen away.J Ought you not to be alarmed at 
these things 7 Seriously examine whether you have not 
forsaken the God of your fathers, and become the friends 
and allies of men who hate both him and them. 

The hatred of infidels has long been transferred from you 
to us. Whether, in the language of the New Testament, 
we be the true " children of Abraham," or not, we in 
herit that reproach and dislike from unbelievers which was 
heretofore the portion of the godly Israelites. On whai 
account were your fathers hated by the practical atheists 
of their day 1 Was it not because of their devotedness to 
God? It was this in David that provoked the resentment 
of the children of Belial, and rendered them his determined 
enemies. They were continually jeering at his prayers, 
his tears, and his trust in Jehovah ; turning that which in 
reality was his glory into shame ; and afflicting him in his 
affliction, by scornfully inquiring, " Where is thy God 1 ? 
Such is the treatment which the godly part of your nation 
received in all ages, both from heathens abroad and im 
pious characters at home ; || and such is the treatment 
which serious Christians continue to receive from ungodly 
men to this day ; but are you hated and reproached on this 
account t 

Of late years it has been frequently pleaded that the 
principal objections to your embracing the Christian re 
ligion are found in the doctrines of the Trinity, the Deity 
of Christ, and atonement by his death ; doctrines which 
the greater part of Christians hold to be taught in the New 
Testament. But those who impute your conduct to these 
causes must have nearly as mean an opinion of your 
rationality as they have of ours, with whom, they say, 
" there is no reasoning ; and that we are to be pitied, and 
considered as under a debility of mind in one respect, 
however sensible and rational in others. "IT What have 
the principles, which in our judgment are taught in the 
New Testament, to do with your acknowledging Jesus to 
be the Messiah, and the Christian religion to be of God t 
Let these positions be admitted, and examine the New 
Testament for yourselves. If you were not considered as 
possessing a sufficient degree of good sense to distinguish 
between Christianity and the creed of any particular party 
of Christians, it is surprising that " rational Christians" 
should think of writing addresses to you. For our parts, 
we could almost be satisfied that you should decide the 
controversy, whether the doctrines before mentioned be 
taught in the New Testament, or not. As to removing 
these stumbling-blocks, as some call them, out of your 
way, we have no inclination to attempt it. Only imbibe 
the spirit of your ancestors, and they will presently cease 
to be stumbling-blocks. Believe Moses, and you will be 
lieve Jesus ; and, believing Jesus, neither his claiming to 
be the " Son of God," and consequently " equal with 
God," nor his insisting upon his " flesh being the life of 
the world," will offend you. On the contrary, whenever 
the Spirit of grace and of supplications is poured out upon 
you, and you come to look on Him whom you have pierced, 
and mourn, you will join in the worship of him ; and the 
doctrine of atonement will be to you a fountain set open. 
for sin and uncleanness.** 

You live in expectation of being restored to your own 
land. We expect the same thing, and rejoice in the belief 
of it. The Old and the New Testament agree in predict 
ing it.ff But the same prophets that have foretold your 
return to Canaan have also foretold that you must be 
brought to " repent of your sins, and to seek Jehovah your 
God, and David your king." JJ Your holy land will avail 
you but little, unless you be a holy people. 

Finally, You admit, I suppose, that though we should err 
in believing Jesus to be the Messiah, yet while we deny 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteous 
ly, and godly, in this present world, it is an error that may 
not affect our eternal salvation : but if the error be on 
your side, on what ground do you stand 1 Your fathers, 
in this case, were murderers of the Prince of life ; and, 
by adopting their principles, you make the deed your own. 



Lindsey's Catechists, Inquiry 6. 
Zech. xii. 10 14 ; xiii. 1. 
Ezek. xxxvii. ; Luke xxi. 24. 



tt Hog. iii. 5. 



ADDRESS TO CHRISTIANS. 



His blood lies upon \ou, and upon your children. The 
terrible destruction of your city by the Romans, and the 
hardness of heart to which you have been given up, are 
symptoms of that wrath which is come upon you to the 
uttermost. Repent, and believe the gospel, that you may 
escape the wrath to come! 



TO CHRISTIANS. 



BELOVED BRETHREN ! 

IT is witnessed of David, that he " served the will of 
God in his generation." Every generation has its pecu 
liar work. The present age is distinguished, you know, 
by the progress of infidelity. We have long been ex 
empted from persecution ; and He whose fan is in his hand, 
perceiving his floor to stand in need of purging, seems de 
termined by new trials to purge it. The present is a 
winnowing time. If we wish to serve the will of God in 
it. u.- must carefully attend to those duties which such a 
state of things imposes upon us. 

In the first place, Let us look well to the sincerity of our 
hearts ; and see to it that our Christianity is vital, practical, 
and decided. An army called to engage after a long peace 
requires to be examined, and every one should examine 
himself. Many become soldiers when danj^r is at a 
distance. The mighty host of Midianites were overcome 
by a selected band. A proclamation was issued through 
the army of Israel, " Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let 
him return ;" and after a great diminution from coward 
ice, the rest must be brought down to the water to be 
tried. Such, or nearly such, may be the trials of the 
church : those who overcome may be reduced to a small 
company in comparison of those who have borne the 
Christian name. So indeed the Scriptures inform us. 
They that obtain the victory with Christ arc " called, and 
chosen, and faithful." * 

The manner in which things of late ages have moved 
on, in the religious world, has been such as to admit of a 
larger outer-court, if I may so speak, for a sort of half 
worshippers. A general religious reputation has been 
hitherto obtained at a small expense. But should infidelity 
prevail throughout Christendom, as it has in France, the 
nominal extent of the Christian church will be greatly 
reduced. In taking its dimensions, the outer-court will, 
is it were, be left out and given to the Gentiles. In this 
u must come in or keep out; be one thing or 
mother ; a decided friend of Christ, or an avowed infidel. 
It is possible the time may come when all parties will be 
educed, in effect, to two believers and unbelievers. 

" Never," says a late masterly and moving writer, " were 
imes more eventful and critical than at present ; never 
vere appearances more singular and interesting, in the 
>olitical or in the religious world. You behold, on the 
me hand, infidelity with dreadful irruption extending its 
avages far and wide ; and, on the other, an amazing 
.ccession of zeal and activity to the cause of Christianity. 
2rror in all its forms is assiduously and successfully pro- 
iagated ; but the progress of evangelical truth is also great. 
"he number of the apparently neutral party daily dimin- 
ihes ; and men are now either becoming worshippers of 
he God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, or receding 
ist through the mists of scepticism into the dreary regions 
f speculative and practical atheism. It seems as if Chris- 
ianity and infidelity were mustering each the host of the 
attle, and preparing for some great day of God. The 
nemy is come in like a flood ; but the Spirit of the 
hath lifted up a standard against him. ' Who, then, 

. xvii. 14. 
ier's Two Discourses at Paisley, in June, 1798. 

xvii. 8. l|. 

\ii _'*>. ?7. The writer has since read a very able discourse 




is on the Lord's side * who 1 Let him come forth to t!i<f 
help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the 
miirhty !'"t 

Secondly, Let a good understanding be cultivated among 
sincere Christians of different denominations. Let the 
friends of Christ know one another ; and let not slighter 
shades of difference keep them at variance. The enemies 
of Christianity know how to avail themselves of our dis 
cords. The union which is here recommended, however, 
is not a merely nominal one, much less one that requires 
a ~acrifice of principle. Let us unite, so far as we can 
act in concert, in promoting the interest of Christ ; and 
hold ourselves open to conviction with regard to other 
things. Let not the free discussion of our differences be 
laid aside, or any such connexion formed as shall require 
it ; only let them be conducted with modesty, frankness, 
and candour, and the godly will find their account in 
them. Let it be the great concern of all, not so much to 
maintain their own peculiarities, as to know and practise 
the truth ; not so much to yield, and come nearer to other 
denominations, as to approximate towards the mind of 
Christ. The mind of Christ, as expressed in his doctrines 
and precepts, must be the central point in which we meet: 
as we approach this, we shall come nearer to each other. 
So much agreement as there is among us, so much is 
there of union ; and so much agreement as there is in the 
mind of Christ, so much of Christian union. 

Finally, Let not the heart of any man fail him, on ac 
count of the high tone and scornful airs assumed by in- 
Jidels. The reign of infidelity may be extensive, but it 
must be short. It carries in it the seeds of its own disso 
lution. Its immoralities are such that the world cannot 
long sustain them. Scripture prophecy has clearly foretold 
all the great governments of the world, from the time of 
the Jewish captivity to this day the Babylonian, Persian, 
Macedonian, and Roman ; together with the ten king 
doms into which the last of these empires has been di 
vided, and the papal government which sprung up among 
them ; but it makes no explicit mention of this. It has 
no individual subsistence given it in the system of pro 
phecy. It is not a " beast," but a mere putrid excrescence 
of the papal beast an excrescence which, though it may 
diffuse death through every vein of the body on which it 
grew, yet shall die along with it. " The beast," and all 
which pertains to him, " goeth into perdition." J There 
is no space of time allowed for this government : no sooner 
is it said, " Babylon is fallen," than voices are heard in 
heaven declaring that " the marriage of the Lamb is 
come." No sooner does " the judgment sit, to take away 
the dominion of the little horn, to consume and to destroy 
it unto the end," than it follows, " And the kingdom and 
dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the 
whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of 
the Most High." 

Popery is not yet destroyed, though it has received a 
deadly blow ; and from what is said of the little horn, 
that they shall take away his dominion, " to consume and 
to destroy it unto the end," it should seem that its over 
throw will be gradual. While this is accomplishing, the 
reign of infidelity may continue, with various success ; 
but no longer. Only let us " watch and keep our gar 
ments clean," (a caution given, it is probable, with imme 
diate reference to the present times,) and we have nothing 
to fear. It is a source of great consolation that the last 
of the four beasts, which for more than two thousand 
years have persecuted the church, and oppressed mankind, 
is drawing near to its end. The government that shall 
next prevail will be that of Christ, " whose kingdom is an 
everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and 
obey him. Even so, Amen. Blessed be his glorious name 
for ever ; and let the whole earth be filled with his glory ; 
Amen, and Amen ! " 

by Mr. Nathan Strong, of Hertford, Connecticut, entitled, " Political 
Instructions from the Prophecies of God'* Word ;" in which the abort 
sentiments are stated with great force of evidence. 



THE 

CALVINISTIC AND SOCINIAN SYSTEMS 

EXAMINED AND COMPARED, 

AS TO 

THEIR MORAL TENDENCY, 

IN A SERIES OF LETTERS, ADDRESSED TO THE FRIENDS OF VITAL AND PRACTICAL RELIGION. 

TO WHICH IS ADDED 

A POSTSCRIPT, 

ESTABLISHING THE PRINCIPLE OF THE WORK, AGAINST THE EXCEPTIONS OF DR. TOULMIN, MR. BELSHAM, &C. 



PREFACE. 

THE following Letters are addressed to the friends of vital and practical religion, because the author is persuaded tl 
the very essence of true piety is concerned in this controversy ; and that godly men are the only proper judges of Divir 
truth, being the only humble, upright, and earnest inquirers after it. So far from thinking, with Dr. Priestley, tt 
" an unbiassed temper of mind is attained in consequence of becoming more indifferent to religion in general, and 
all the modes and doctrines of it," he is satisfied that persons of that description have a most powerful bias against 
truth. Though it were admitted that false principles, accompanied with a bigoted attachment to them, are worse tha 
none ; yet he cannot admit that irreligious men are destitute of principles. He has no notion of human minds being 
unoccupied or indifferent : he that is not a friend to religion in any mode is an enemy to it in all modes ; he is a liber 
tine ; he " doeth evil," and therefore " hateth the light." And shall we compliment such a character, by acknowledg 
ing him to be in " a favourable situation for distinguishing between truth and falsehood t" * God forbid ! It is " he 
that doeth his will that shall know of his doctrine." The humble, the candid, the upright inquirers after truth are ti 
persons who are likely to find it ; and to them the author takes the liberty to appeal. 

The principal occasion of these Letters was the late union among Protestant Dissenters, in reference to civil affair 
having been the source of various misconceptions, and, as the writer apprehends, improved as a means of disseminatii 
Socinian principles. 

In the late application to parliament, for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, the Dissenters have unite 
without any respect to their doctrinal principles. They considered that they were applying merely for a civil right 
and that, in such an application, difference in theological sentiments had no more concern than it has in the union of I 
nation under one civil head, or form of government. 

This union, however, has become an occasion of many reflections. Serious men of the Established Church have 
expressed their surprise that some Dissenters could ot unite with others, so opposite in their religious principles ; and, 
had the union been of a religious nature, it must, indeed, have been surprising. Others have supposed that the main 
body of Dissenters had either imbibed the Socinian system, or were hastily approaching towards it. Whether the 
suggestion of Dr. Horsley, that " the genuine Calvinists, among our modern Dissenters, are very few," has contributed 
to this opinion, or whatever be its origin, it is far from being just. Every one who knows the Dissenters knows that 
the body of them are what is commonly called orthodox. Dr. Priestley, who is well known to be sufficiently sanguine 
in estimating the numbers of his party so sanguine that, when speaking of the common people of this country, he 
reckons " nine out of ten of them would prefer a Unitarian to a Trinitarian liturgy ; " f yet acknowledges, in regard to 
the Dissenters, that Unitarians are by far the minority. In Birmingham, where the proportion of their number to the 
rest of the Dissenters is greater than in any other town in the kingdom, it appears, from Dr. Priestley's account of the 
matter, that those called orthodox are nearly three to one ; and throughout England and Wales they have been sup 
posed to be "as two, if not as three to one, to the Socinians and Arians inclusive." J 

* Discourses on Various Subjects, p. 95. + Defence of Unitarianism, for 1786, p. 61. 

t See Dr. Priestley's Familiar Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham, Letters III. XI. Also Mr. Parry's Remarks on the Resolutior.1 o 
the Warwick Meeting. 



PREFACE. 5| 

If Dr. Horsley found it necessary, in support of his cause, to overturn Dr. Priestley's assertion, that " great bodies of 
men do not change their opinions in a small space of time," some think he might have found an example, more to hit* 
purpose than that of the body of Dissenters having deserted their former principles, in the well-known change of the 
major p:\rt of the Church of England, who, about the time of Archbishop Laud, went off from Calvinism to Arminian- 
ism. Had this example been adduced, his antagonist might have found some difficulty in. maintaining his ground against 
him, as it is an undoubted fact, and a fact which he himself acknowledges, with several others of the kind.* 

The supposition, however, of the Dissenters being generally gone, or going off, to Socinianism, though far from just, 
has not been without its apparent grounds. The consequence which Socinians have assumed, in papers and pamphlets 
which have been circulated about the country, has afforded room for such a supposition. It has not been very uncom 
mon for them to speak of themselves as THE DISSENTERS, THE MODERN DISSENTERS, &c. It was said, in a paper that 
was published more than once, " The ancient, like the modern Dissenters, worshipped one God; they knew nothing of 
the Nicene or Athanasian creeds." The celebrated authoress of The Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Cor 
poration and Test Acts is not clear in this matter. That otherwise admirable performance is tinged with the pride of 
party consequence. " We thank you, gentlemen," she says, "for the compliment paid the DISSENTERS, when you 
suppose that, the moment they are eligible to places of power and profit, all such places will at once be filled with them. 
We had not the presumption to imagine that, inconsiderable as we are in numbers, compared to the Established 
Church ; inferior, too, in fortune and influence ; labouring, as we do, under the frowns of the court and THE ANATHEMA 
OF THE ORTHODOX ; we should make our way so readily into the recesses of royal favour." Even the Monthly Reviewers, 
though they have borne testimony against mingling doctrinal disputes with those of the repeal of the Test laws.f yet 
have sometimes spoken of Dissenters and Socinians as if they were terms of the same meaning and extent. " It appears 
to us as absurd," they say, "to charge the religious principles of THE DISSENTERS with republicanism, as it would be to 
advance the same accusation against the Newtonian philosophy. The doctrine of gravitation may as well be deemed 
dangerous to the state as SOCINIANISM." J 

Is it unnatural, from such representations as these, for those who know but little of us to consider the Socinians as 
constituting the main body of the Dissenters, and the Calvinists as only a few stragglers, who follow these leading men 
at a distance in all their measures ; but whose numbers and consequence are so small, that even the mention of their 
names, among Protestant Dissenters, may very well be omitted t 

This, however, as it only affects our reputation, or, at most, can only impede the repeal of the Test laws, by strength 
ening a prejudice, too strong already, against the whole body of Dissenters, might be overlooked. But this is not all ; it 
is pretty evident that the union among us, in civil matters, has been improved for the purpose of disseminating religious 
principles. At one of the most public meetings for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts, as the author was 
credibly informed, Socinian peculiarities were advanced, which passed unnoticed, because those of contrary principles did 
not choose to interrupt the harmony of the meeting, by turning the attention of gentlemen from the immediate object 
for which they were assembled. What end could Dr. Priestley have in introducing so much about the Test Act in his 
controversy with Mr. Burn, on the person of Christ, except it were to gild the pill, and make it go down the easier with 
Calvinistic Dissenters 1 

The writer of these Letters does not blame the Dissenters of his own persuasion for uniting with the Socinians. In 
civil matters, he thinks it lawful to unite with men, be their religious principles what they may ; but he, and many 
others, would be very sorry if a union of this kind should prove an occasion of abating our zeal for those religious prin 
ciples which we consider as being of the very essence of the gospel. 

The term Socinians is preferred in the following Letters to that of Unitarians, not for the mean purpose of reproach, 
but because the latter name is not a fair one. The term, as constantly explained by themselves, signifies those prof essors 
of Christianity who worship but one God ; but this is not that wherein they can be allowed to be distinguished from 
others. For what professors of Christianity are there who profess to worship a plurality of Gods t Trinitarians profess 
also to be Unitarians. They, as well as their opponents, believe there is but one God. To give Socinians this name, 
therefore, exclusively, would be granting them the very point which they seem so desirous to take for granted ; that is to 
say, the point in debate. 

Names, it may be said, signify little ; and this signifies no more on one side than the term orthodox does on the other. 
The writer owns that, when he first conceived the idea of publishing these Letters, he thought so ; and intended, all 
along, to use the term Unitarians. What made him alter his mind was, his observing that the principal writers in that 
scheme have frequently availed themselves of the above name, and appear to wish to have it thought, by their readers, 
that the point in dispute between them and the Trinitarians is, Whether there be three Gods, or only one. 

If he had thought the use of the term Unitarians consistent with justice to his own argument, he would have pre 
ferred it to that of Socinians ; and would also have been glad of a term to express the system which he has defended, 
instead of calling it after the name of Calvin ; as he is aware that calling ourselves after the names of men (though it be 
merely to avoid circumlocution) is liable to be understood as giving them an authority which is inconsistent with a 
conformity to our Lord's command, " Call no man master upon earth ; for one is your Master, even Christ." 

He may add that the substance of the following Letters was written before the riots at Birmingham. His regard to 
justice and humanity made him feel much, on that occasion, for Dr. Priestley, and others who suffered with him ; but 
pis regard to what he esteems important truth made him feel more. The injury which a doctrine receives from those 
who would support it by the unhallowed hands of plunder and persecution is far greater, in the esteem of many, than it 
can receive from the efforts of its avowed adversaries. For his own part, he has generally supposed that both the con 
trivers and executors of that iniquitous business, call themselves what they will, were men of no principle. If, however, 
those of the high-church party, who, instead of disavowing the spirit and conduct of the misguided populace, have 
manifestly exulted in it, must be reckoned among the Trinitarians, he has only to say they are such Trinitarians as he 
utterly disapproves, and concerning whom he cannot so well express his sentiments and feelings as in the words of the 
patriarch : " Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret ; unto their 
assembly, mine honour, be not ihou united : for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down 
a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce ; and their wrath, for it was cruel." 

Detestable, however, as were the riots at Birmingham, no one can plead that they render the religious principles of 
Dr. Priestley less erroneous, or less pernicious ; or an opposition to them, upon the fair ground of argument, less neces 
sary. On the contrary-, the mere circumstance of his being a persecuted man will have its influence on some people, 
and incline them not only to feel for the man, the gentleman, and the philosopher (all which is right) ; but to think 
favourably of his religious opinions. On this consideration, if the following Letters would, previous to that event, 
have been in any degree proper and seasonable, they are not, by any thing that has since occurred, become improper, 
or unseasonable. 

Since the first edition, the author has attempted, in some place*, to strengthen his argument, and to remove such 
objections as have hitherto occurred. The principal addition* will be found in Lottors IV. and XV. The note, towards 

8* Letter HI. t Monthly Bevinv KnltrRwl. Vol. I. p. 233. * Ibid. 1700, p. 247. 

E 2 



52 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 



the latter end of the former, was occasioned by a report that Dr. Priestley complained of being misrepresented by thi 
quotation in the first page of the Preface. This note contains a vindication, not only of the fairness of the quotatioi 
from Dr. Priestley, but of another, to the same purpose, from Mr. Belsham ; and an answer to what is advanced on it 
behalf in the Monthly Iteviete. 

1802. 



LETTER I. 



INTRODUCTION AND GENERAL REMARKS. 



CHRISTIAN BRETHREN, 

MUCH has been written of late years on the Socinian 
controversy ; so much that the attention of the Christian 
world has, to a considerable degree, been drawn towards 
it. There is no reason, however, for considering this cir 
cumstance as a matter of wonder, or of regret. Not of 
wonder ; for supposing the Deity and atonement of Christ 
to be Divine truths, they are of such importance in the 
Christian scheme as to induce the adversaries of the gospel 
to bend their main force against them, as against the rock 
on ichich Christ hath built his church. Not of regret ; for, 
whatever partial evils may arise from a full discussion of a 
subject, the interests of truth will, doubtless, in the end 
prevail ; and the prevalence of truth is a good that will 
outweigh all the ills that may have attended its discovery. 
Controversy engages a number of persons of different talents 
and turns of mind; and by this means the subject is likely 
to be considered in every view in which it is capable of 
being exhibited to advantage. 

The point of light in which the subject will be con 
sidered in these letters, namely, as influencing the heart 
and life, has been frequently glanced at on both sides. I 
do not recollect, however, to have seen this view of it 
professedly and separately handled. 

In the great controversy in the time of Elijah recourse 
was had to an expedient by which the question w r as de 
cided. Each party built an altar, cut in pieces a bullock, 
and laid the victim upon the wood, but put no fire under; 
and the God that should answer by fire was to be acknow 
ledged as the true God. We cannot bring our controver 
sies to such a criterion as this : we may bring them to one, 
however, which, though not so suddenly, is not much less 
sensibly evident. The tempers and lives of men are books 
for common people to read ; and they will read them, even 
though they should read nothing else. They are, indeed, 
warranted by the Scriptures themselves to judge of the 
nature of doctrines, by their holy or unholy tendency. 
The true gospel is to be known by its being a " doctrine 
according to godliness ;" teaching those who embrace it 
" tc deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live sober 
ly, righteously, and godly in the present world." Those, 
on the other hand, " who believe not the truth," are said 
to " have pleasure in unrighteousness." " Profane and 
vain babblings," as the ministrations of false teachers are 
called, " will increase unto more ungodliness," and their 
word " will eat as doth a canker." To this may be added, 
that the parties themselves, engaged in this controversy, 
have virtually acknowledged the justice and importance of 
the above criterion, in that both sides have incidentally 
endeavoured to avail themselves of it. A criterion, then, 
by which the common people will judge, by which the 
Scripture authorizes them to judge, and by which both 
sides, in effect, agree to be judged, cannot but be worthy 
of particular attention. 

I feel, for my own part, satisfied, not only of the truth 
and importance of the doctrines in question, but also of 
their holy tendency. I am aware, however, that others 
think differently, and that a considerable part of what I 
have to advance must be on the defensive. 

" Admitting the truth," says Dr. Priestley, " of a Trinity 
of persons in the Godhead, original sin, arbitrary predes 
tination, atonement by the death of Christ, and the ple 
nary inspiration of the Scriptures ; their value, estimated 
by their influence on the morals of men, cannot be sup 



posed, even by the admirers of them, to be of any moment, 
compared to the doctrine of the resurrection of the human 
race to a life of retribution : and, in the opinion of those 
who reject them, they have a very unfavourable tendency 
giving wrong impressions concerning the character and 
moral government of God, and such as might tend, if they 
have any effect, to relax the obligations of virtue."* 

In many instances Dr. Priestley deserves applause fo* 
his frankness and fairness as a disputant : in this passage, 
however, as well as in some others, the admirers of the 
doctrines he mentions are unfairly represented. They 
who embrace the other doctrines are supposed to hold that 
of arbitrary predestination ; but this supposition is not 
true. The term arbitrary conveys the idea of caprice ; 
and, in this connexion, denotes that in predestination, ac 
cording to the Calvinistic notion of it, God resolves upon 
the fates of men, and appoints them to this or that, with 
out any reason for so doing. But there is no justice in 
this representation. There is no decree in the Divine 
mind that we consider as void of reason. Predestination 
to death is on account of sin ; and as to predestination to 
life, though it be not on account of any works of right 
eousness which we have done, yet it does not follow that 
God has no reason whatever for what he does. The sove 
reignty of God is a wise, and not a capricious sovereignty. 
If he hide the glory of the gospel from the wise and pru 
dent, and reveal it unto babes, it is because it seemeth good 
in his sight. But if it seem good in the sight of God, it 
must, all things considered, be good ; for " the judgment 
of God is according to truth." 

It is asserted, also, that the admirers of the forementioned 
doctrines cannot, and do not, consider them as of equal 
importance with that of the resurrection of the human race 
to a life of retribution. But this, I am satisfied, is not the 
case ; for whatever Dr. Priestley may think, they consider 
them, or at least some of them, as essential to true holi 
ness ; and of such consequence, even to the doctrine of 
the resurrection of the human race to a life of retribution, 
that, without them, such a resurrection would be a curse 
to mankind, rather than a blessing. 

There is one thing, however, in the above passage, 
wherein we all unite ; and this is that the VALUE or IM 
PORTANCE of religious principles is to be estimated by their 
influence on the morals of men. By this rule let the fore- 
mentioned doctrines, with their opposites, be tried. If 
either those or these will not abide the trial, they ought to 
be rejected. 

Before we enter upon a particular examination of the 
subject, however, I would make three or four general ob 
servations. 

First, "Whatever Dr. Priestley or any others have said of 
the immoral tendency of our principles, I am persuaded 
that I may take it for granted they do not mean to suggest 
that we are not good members of civil society, or worthy 
of the most perfect toleration in the state ; nor have I any 
such meaning in what may be suggested concerning theirs. 
I do not know any religious denomination of men who 
are unworthy of civil protection. So long as their prac 
tices do not disturb the peace of society, and there be 
nothing in their avowed principles inconsistent with their 
giving security for their good behaviour, they, doubtless, 
ought to be protected in the enjoyment of every civil right 
to which their fellow-citizens at large arc entitled. 

Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, Part II. p. 33, 35. 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. 






Secondly, It is not the bad conduct of a few individual* 
in any denomination of Christians, that proves any thine 
on either side, even though they may be zealous advo 
cates for the peculiar tenets of the party which the; 
espouse. It is the conduct of the general body from whirl 
we ought to form our estimate. That there are men o 
bad character who attend on our preaching is not denied 
perhaps some of the worst : but if it be so, it prove: 
nothing to the dishonour of our principles. Those who 
in the first ages of C h i-ti:>nity, were not humbled by iht 
gospel, were generally hardened by it. Nay, were 
allowed that we have a greater number of hypocrites than 
M-inians, (as it has been insinuated that the hypo 
crisy and preciseness of some people afford matter of just 
disgust to speculative Unitarians,) I do not think this 
supposition, any more than the other, dishonourable to 
our principles. The defect of hypocrites lies not so much 
in the thing professed, as in the sincerity of their profes 
sion. The thin-j professed may be excellent, and, perhaps, 
is the more likely to be so from its bein 1 ,' counterfeited ; 
for it is not usual to counterfeit things of no value. Those 
persons who entertain low and diminutive ideas of the 
evil f sin and the dignity of Christ must, in order to be 
thought religious by us, counterfeit the contrary- ; but, 
among Socinians, the same persons may avow those ideas, 
and be caressed for it. That temper of mind which we 
suppose common to men, as being that which they possess 
by nature, needs not to be disguised among them, in order 
to be well thought of; they have, therefore, no great 
temptations to hypocrisy. The question in hand, however, 
is not What influence either our principles or theirs have 
upon persons who do not in reality adopt them t but, What 
influence they have upon those who do t * 

Thirdly, It is not the good conduct of a few individuals, 
on either side, that will prove any thing. Some have 
adopted a false creed, and retain it in words, who yet 
never enter into the spirit of it, and consequently do not 
act upon it. But merely dormant opinions can hardly be 
called principles ; those rather seem to be a man's prin 
ciples which lie at the foundation of his spirit and con 
duct. Further, good men are found in denominations 
whose principles are very bad ; and good men, by what 
ever names they are called, are more nearly of a sentiment 
than they are frequently aware of. Take two of them, 
who differ the most in words, and bring them upon their 
knees in prayer, and they will be nearly agreed. Besides, 
a great deal of that which passes for virtue amongst men 
is not so in the sight of God, who sees things as they are. 
It is no more than may be accounted for without bringing 
religion or virtue into the question. There are motives 
and considerations which will commonly influence men, 
living in society, to behave with decorum. Various occu 
pations and pursuits, especially those of a mental and re 
ligious kind, are inconsistent with profligacy of manners. 
" False apostles," the very " ministers of Satan," are said 
to " transform themselves into the apostles of Christ," 
and to appear as the " ministers of righteousness ; " even 
as " Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 
There are certain vices which, being inconsistent with 
others, may be the means of restraining them. Covetous- 
ness may be the cause of sobriety ; and pride restrains 
thousands from base and ignoble gratifications, in which, 
nevertheless, their hearts take secret and supreme delight. 
A decent conduct has been found in Pharisees, in infidels, 
en in atheists. Dr. Priestley acknowledges that 
:l an atheist may be temperate, good-natured, honest, and, 
in the le>s-extended sense of the word, a virtuous man."-\- 
Yet Dr. Priestley would not hence infer any thing in favour 
~>f the moral tendency of atheism. 

Lastly, Neither seal in defence of principles, nor every 
tind of deration springing from them, will prove those 
irinciples to be true, or worthy of God. Several gentle- 
Tien, who have gone over from the Calvinistic to the So- 
inian sy>tem, are said to possess greater seal for the pro- 

Though the Socinians be allowed, in what U (aid above, to have 
>ut few hjpocrites among them; yet this it to be understood as re 
nting merely to one specie* of hypocrisy. Dr. Priestley, speaking of 
"nilnriritu ho still continue in the Church of England, ys, " From 
i ju-t aversion lo every tiling that look* like hmocriiy and precite- 
teti, they rather lean to the extreme of fashionable dissipation." Yet 
ie represents the same persons, sjid that in the same page, as "eon- 



pagation of the latter than they had used to discover fur 
that of the former. As this, however, makes nothing t o 
the disadvantage of their system, neither does it make any 
thing to its advantage. This may be owing, for anv tliin"' 
that can be proved to the contrary, to their having found 
a system more consonant to the bias of their hearts than 
that was which they formerly professed. And as to 
devotion, a species of this may exist in persons, and that 
to a high degree, consistently enough with the worst of 
principles. We know that the gospel had no worse ene 
mies than the "devout and honourable" amongst the 
Jews, Acts xiii. 50. Saul, while an enemy to Jesus 
Christ, was as sincere, as zealous, and as devout in his 
way, as any of those persons whose sincerity, zeal, and 
devotion are frequently held up by their admirers in favour 
of their cause. 

The>e observations may be thought by some, instead of 
clearing the subject, to involve it in greater difficulties, and 
to render it almost impossible to judge of the tendency of 
principles by any thing that is seen in the lives of men. 
The subject, it is allowed, has its difficulties, and the 
foregoing observations are a proof of it ; but I hope to 
make it appear, whatever difficulties may, on these ac 
counts, attend the subject, that there is still enough, in the 
general spirit and conduct of men, by which to judge of 
the tendency of their principles. 



LETTER II. 

THE SYSTEMS COMPARED AS TO THEIR TENDENCY TO 
CONVERT PROFLIGATES TO A LIFE OF HOLINESS. 

You need not be told that being born again created m 
Christ Jesus converted becoming as a little child, &c., 
are phrases expressive of a change of heart, which the 
Scriptures make necessary to a life of holiness here, and 
to eternal life hereafter. It is on this account that I begin 
>vith conversion, considering it as the commencement of a 
icly life. 

A change of this sort was as really necessary for Xico- 
demus, whose outward character, for aught that appears, 
was respectable, as for Zacchevs, whose life had been de 
voted to the sordid pursuits of avarice. Few, I suppose, 
vill deny this to be the doctrine taught in the New Testa- 
nent. But should this be questioned, should the neces- 
ity of a change of heart in some characters be denied, 
till it will be allowed necessary in others. Now, as a 
hange is more conspicuous, and consequently more con- 
incing, in such persons as have walked in an abandoned 
ourse, than in those of a more sober life, I have fixed 
ipon the conversion of profligates as a suitable topic for 
he present discussion. 

There are two methods of reasoning which may be used 
n ascertaining the moral tendency of principles. The 
irst is, comparing the nature of the principles themselves 
vith the nature of true holiness, and the agreement or 
lisagreement of the one with the other. The second is, 
eferring to plain and acknowledged facts, and judging of 
he nature of causes by their effects. Both these methods 
f reasoning, which are usually expressed by the terms a 
rriori, and a posteriori, will be used in this and the fol- 
owing Letters, as the nature of the subject may admit. 

True conversion is comprehended in those two grand 
opics on which the apostles insisted in the course of their 
ministry " Repentance towards God, and faith toward* 
ur Lord Jesus Christ." Let us, then, fix upon these 
Teat outlines of the apostolic testimony, and examine 
vhich of the systems in question has the greatest tendency 
o produce them. 

in^ to countenance it mode of worship which, if they were qnet- 
ioned about it, they could not deny to oe, according to tbeir own 
rinriples, idolatrous and blasphemous." Ditcvuriet on f'ariottf 
Subject*, p. 96. The hypocrisy, then, to which these gentlemen have 
o just an aversion scms to be only of one kind. 

Let. Unb. Part I. p. 8, Pref. 



54 



CONVERSION OF PROFLIGATES. 



Repentance is a change of mind. It arises from a con 
viction that we have been in the wrong ; and consists in 
holy shame, grief, and self-loathing, accompanied with a 
determination to forsake every evil way. Each of these 
ideas is included in the account we have of the repentance 
of Job. " Behold, I am vile ; what shall I answer thee ? 
I will lay my hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, 
but I will not answer ; yea, twice, but I will proceed no 
further." " I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." 
It is essential to such a change as this that the sinner 
should realize the evil nature of sin. No man ever yet 
repented of a fault without a conviction of its evil nature. 
Sin must appear exceedingly sinful before we can, in the 
nature of things, abhor it, and ourselves on account of it. 
Those sentiments which wrought upon the heart of David, 
and brought him to repentance, were of this sort. Through 
out the fifty-first Psalm, we find him deeply impressed 
with the evil of sin, and that considered as an offence 
against God. He had injured Uriah and Bathsheba, and, 
strictly speaking, had not injured God ; the essential 
honour and happiness of the Divine nature being infinitely 
beyond his reach : yet, as all sin strikes at the Divine 
glory, and actually degrades it in the esteem of creatures, 
all sin is to be considered, in one view, as committed 
against God ; and this view of the subject lay so near his 
heart as to swallow up every other " Against thee, thee 
only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight ! " It 
follows, then, that the system which affords the most en 
larged views of the evil of sin must needs have the greatest 
tendency to promote repentance for it. 

Those who embrace the Calvinistic system believe that 
man was originally created holy and happy ; that of his 
own accord he departed from God, and became vile ; that 
God, being in himself infinitely amiable, deserves to be, 
and is, the moral centre of the intelligent system ; that re 
bellion against him is opposition to the general good ; that, 
if suffered to operate according to its tendency, it would 
destroy the well-being of the universe, by excluding God, 
and righteousness, and peace, from the whole system ; that 
seeing it aims destruction at universal good, and tends to 
universal anarchy and mischief, it is, in those respects, an 
infinite evil, and deserving of endless punishment ; and 
that, in whatever instance God exercises forgiveness, it is 
not without respect to that public expression of his dis 
pleasure against it which was uttered in the death of his 
Son. These, brethren, are the sentiments which furnish 
us with motives for self-abhorrence ; under their influence 
millions have repented in dust and ashes. 

But those, on the other hand, who embrace the Socinian 
system, entertain diminutive notions of the evil of sin. 
They consider all evil propensities in men (except those 
which are accidentally contracted by education or example) 
as being, in every sense, natural to them ; supposing that 
they were originally created with them : they cannot, 
therefore, be offensive to God, unless he could be offended 
with the work of his own hands for being what he made it. 
Hence, it may be, Socinian writers, when speaking of the 
sins of men, describe them in the language of palliation, 
language tending to convey an idea of pity, but not of 
blame. Mr. Belsham, speaking of sin, calls it " human 
frailty," and the subjects of it " the frail and erring chil 
dren of men." * The following positions are for substance 
maintained by Dr. Priestley, in his treatise on Necessity : 
" That, for any thing we know, it might have been as im 
possible for God to make all men sinless and happy, as to 
have made them infinite ;" that all the evil there is in sin 
arises from its tendency to injure the creature ; that if 
God punish sin, it is not because he is so displeased with 
it as in any case to " take vengeance " on the sinner, sacri 
ficing his happiness to the good of the whole ; but, know 
ing that it tends to do the sinner harm, he puts him to 
temporary pain, not only for the warning of others, but for 
his own good, with a view to correct the bad disposition 
in him ; that what is threatened against sin is of such a 
trifling account, that it needs not be an object of dread. 
" No necessarian," says he, " supposes that any of the hu 
man race will suffer eternally ; but that future punish 
ments will answer the same purpose as temporal ones are 

* " Sermon on the Importance of Truth," pp. 33 35. 



found to do, all of which tend to good, and are evidently 
admitted for that purpose ; so that God, the author of all, 
is as much to be adored and loved for what we suffer as 
for what we enjoy, his intention being equally kind in both. 
And since God has created us for happiness, what misery 
can we fear 1 If we be really intended for ultimate, un 
limited happiness, it is no matter, to a truly resigned per 
son, when, or where, or how."^ Sin is so trifling an affair, 
it seems, and the punishment threatened against it of so 
little consequence, that we may be quite resigned, and in 
different whether we go immediately to heaven, or whether 
we first pass through the depths of hell ! 

The question at present is not, Which of these repre 
sentations is true, or consonant to Scripture f but. Which 
has the greatest tendency to promote repentance 1 If re 
pentance be promoted by a view of the evil of sin, this 
question, it is presumed, may be considered as decided. 

Another sentiment intimately connected with that of 
the evil of sin, and equally necessary to promote repent 
ance, is, The equity and goodness of the Divine law. No 
man ever truly repented for the breach of a law the pre 
cepts of which he considered as too strict, or the penalties 
too severe. In proportion as such an opinion prevails, it 
is impossible but that repentance must be precluded. 
Now the precept of the Divine law requires us to love God 
with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our 
neighbour as ourselves. It allows not of any deviation or 
relaxation during the whole of our existence. The penalty 
by which this holy law is enforced is nothing less than the 
curse of Almighty God. But, according to Mr. Belsham, 
if God " mark and punish every instance of transgression," 
he must be a "merciless tyrant;" and we must be 
" tempted to wish that the reigns of universal govern 
ment were in better hands." J Mr. Belsham, perhaps, 
would not deny that perfect obedience is required by the 
law, according to the plain meaning of the words by which 
it is expressed, or that the curse of God is threatened 
against every one that continueth not in all things written 
in the book of the law to do them ; but then this rule is 
so strict that to " mark and punish every instance " of 
deviation from it would be severe and cruel. It seems, 
then, that God has given us a law by the terms of which 
he cannot abide ; that justice itself requires him, if not to 
abate the precept, yet to remit the penalty, and connive at 
smaller instances of transgression. I need not inquire how 
much this reflects upon the moral character and govern 
ment of God. Suffice it at present to say, that such views 
must of necessity preclude repentance. If the law which 
forbids " every instance " of human folly be unreasonably 
strict, and the penalty which threatens the curse of the 
Almighty on every one that continueth not in all things 
therein written be indeed cruel, then it must so far he un 
reasonable for any sinner to be required to repent for the 
breach of it. On the contrary, God himself should rather 
repent for making such a law than the sinner for break 
ing it ! 

Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ is another essential 
part of true conversion. Faith is credence, or belief. 
Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ is belief of the gospel 
of salvation through his name. A real belief of the gospel 
is necessarily accompanied with a trust or confidence in him 
for the salvation of our souls. The term believe itself 
sometimes expresses this idea ; particularly in 2 Tim. i. 
12, " I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded 
that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto 
him against that day." This belief, or trust, can never be 
fairly understood of a mere confidence in his veracity, as 
to the truth of his doctrine ; for if that were all, the ability 
of Christ would stand for nothing ; and we might as well 
be said to trust in Peter, or John, or Paul, as in Christ, 
seeing we believe their testimony to be valid as well as 
his. Believing, it is granted, does not necessarily, and in 
all cases, involve the idea of trust, for which I here con 
tend ; this matter being detennined by the nature of the 
testimony. Neither Peter, nor any of the apostles, ever 
pretended that their blood, though it might be shed in 
martyrdom, would be the price of the salvation of sinners. 
We may, therefore, credit their testimony, without trusting 



t Pages 118. 122. 65. 14S, 150.128. 



Sermon, p. 34. 



CONVERSION OF PROFLIGATES. 



in them, or committing any thing, as Paul expresses it, into 
their hands. But Christ's blood w testified of as the way, 
and the only way, of salvation. He is said to be tilt- 
propitiation for our sins ; " and " by himself to have purged 
our sins." " Through his blood we have forgiveness." 
" Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is none 
other name under heaven given among men whereby we 
must be saved." " Other foundation can no man lay than 
that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Hence it follows that, 
to believe his testimony, must of necessity involve in it a 
trusting in him for the salvation of our souls. v 

If this be a just representation of faith in Jesus Christ, 
we cannot be at a loss to decide which of the systems in 
question has the greatest tendency to promote it ; and as 
faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ is essential to true 
conversion, we cannot hesitate in concluding which has 
the greatest tendency to turn a sinner from the evil of his 
ways. Not to mention, at present, how Soc-inian writers 
disown an " implicit belief" in the testimony of the sacred 
writers,* and how they lean to their own understanding, 
as the criterion by which Scripture is to be tried ; that 
which I would here insist upon is, That, upon their prin 
ciple*, all trust or confidence in Christ for salvation is 
utterly excluded. Not only are those principles unadapted 
to induce us to trust in Christ, but they directly tend to 
turn off our attention and affection from him. Dr. Priest 
ley does not appear to consider him as " the way of a sin 
ner's salvation " in any sense whatever, but goes about to 
explain the words of Peter, Acts iv. 12, "Neither is there 
salvation in any other," &c., not of salvation to eternal 
life, hut " of salvation, or deliverance, from bodily dis 
eases.'^ And another writer of the same cast, (Dr. Har- 
wood,) in a volume of Sermons lately published, treats the 
sacred writers with still less ceremony. Paul had said, 
" Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which 
is Jesus Christ ; " but this writer, as if he designed to 
affront the apostle, makes use of his own words in order 
to contradict him. " Other foundation than this can no 
man lay," says he ; " other expectations are visionary and 
groundless, and all hopes founded upon any thing else than 
a good moral life are merely imaginary, and contrary to 
the whole tenor of the gospel," p. 193. Whether these 
things be not aimed to raze the foundation on which the 
church is built ; and whether this be any other than 
" stumbling at the stumbling-stone," and a " setting him 
at nought," in the great affair for which he came into the 
world, let every Christian judge. It particularly deserves 
the serious consideration, not only of the above writers, but 
of those who are any way inclined to their mode of think 
ing ; fur if it should be so that the death of Christ, as a 
propitiatory sacrifice, is the only medium through which 
sinners can be accepted of God, and if they should be 
found fighting against God, and rejecting the only way of 
escape, the consequence may be such as to cause the ears 
of every one that heareth it to tingle. Meanwhile, it re 
quires but little penetration to discover that whatever takes 
away the only foundation of a sinner's confidence cannot 
be adapted to promote it. 

Brethren, examine these matters to the bottom, and 
judge for yourselves, whether you might not as well expect 
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles, as to see repentance to- 
wanU God, or faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, pro 
ceeding from Socinian principles. 

The foregoing observations serve to show vhat may be 
expected from the Socinian doctrine, according to the na 
ture of things : let us next make some inquiry into matters 
of fact. "We may judge, from the nature of the seed sown, 
what will be the harvest ; but a view of what the harvest 
actually is may afford still greater satisfaction. 

First, then, let it be considered whether Socinian con 
gregations have ever abounded in conversions of the pro 
fane to a life of holiness and devotedness to God. Dr. 
Priestley acknowledges that " the gospel, when it was first 
preached by the apostles, produced a wonderful change in 
tho lives and manners of persons of all ages," Let. Unb. Pref. 

Dr. Priestley's Defence of UniUrUnUm, 1787, p. 66. 

+ Fam. Let. XVI. 

t 1*1. Unb. 11. Pref. It ii true Dr. Priestley U not here *peaking of 
the profligates among nominal Christians, but of those among avowed 
Bod*. This, however, make* nothing to the argument. The dis- 



ix. Now, if the doctrine which he and others preach In- t In- 
same, for substance, as that which they preached, one 
illicit expect to see some considerable degree of similarity 
in the effects. But is any thing like this to be seen in 
Socinian congregations t Has that kind of preaching 
which leaves out the doctrines of man's lost condition by 
nature, and salvation by grace only through the atone 
ment of Christ, and substitutes, in their place, the doctrine 
of mercy without an atonement, the simple humanity of 

Christ, the efficacy of repentance and obedience, &c 

has this kind of preaching, I say, ever been known to lay 
much hold on the hearts and consciences of men f The way 
in which that "wonderful change" was effected, in the 
lives and manners of people who attended the first preach 
ing of the gospel, was by the word preached laying hold on 
their hearts. It was a distinguishing mark of primitive 
preaching, that it " commended itself to every man's con 
science." People could not in general sit unconcerned 
under it. We are told of some who were " cut to the 
heart," and took counsel to slay the preachers ; and of 
others who were "pricked in the heart," and said, " Men 
and brethren, what shall we do!" But, in both cases, 
the heart was the mark at which the preacher aimed, and 
which his doctrine actually reached. Has the preaching 
of the Socinians any such effect as this t Do they so much 
as expect it should 1 Were any of their hearers, by any 
means, to feel pricked in their hearts, and come to them 
with the question, What shall we do t would they not pity 
them as enthusiasts, and be ready to suspect that they had 
been among the Calvinists t If any counsel were given 
would it not be such as must tend to impede their repent 
ance, rather than promote it ; and, instead of directing 
them to Jesus Christ, as was the practice of the primitive 
preachers, would they not endeavour to lead them into 
another course 1 

Socinian writers cannot so much as pretend that their 
doctrine has been used to convert profligate sinners to the 
love of God and holiness. Dr. Priestley's scheme will not 
enable him to account for such changes, where Christianity 
has ceased to be a novelty. The absolute novelty of the 
gospel, when first preached, he represents as the cause of 
its wonderful efficacy ; but in the present age, among per 
sons who have long heard it, and have contracted vicious 
habits notwithstanding, he looks for no such effects. He 
confesses himself " less solicitous about the conversion of 
unbelievers tcho are much advanced in life than of younger 
persons, and that because he despairs of the principles of 
Christianity having much effect upon the lives of those 
whose dispositions and habits are already formed." J Some 
times he reckons that the great body of primitive Christians 
must have been " well-disposed with respect to moral vir 
tue, even before their conversion to Christianity; else," 
he thinks, " they could not have been so ready to have 
abandoned their vices, and to embrace a doctrine which 
required the strictest purity and rectitude of conduct, and 
even to sacrifice their lives in the cause of truth," II. 
167, 168. In his treatise on Philosophical Necessity, (p. 
156,) he declares that, " upon the principles of the neces 
sarian, all late repentance, and especially after long and 
confirmed habits of vice, is altogether and necessarily in 
effectual ; there not being sufficient time left to produce a 
change of disposition and character, which can only be done 
by a change of conduct, and of proportionably long con 
tinuance." 

I confess I do not perceive the consistency of these pas 
sages with each other. By the power of novelty a wonder 
ful change was produced in the lives and manners of men ; 
and yet the body of them must have been well-disposed 
with respect to moral virtue that is, they must have been 
in such a state as not to need any wonderful change else 
they could not have been so ready to abandon their vices. 
A wonderful change was produced in the lives and man 
ners of men of all ages ; and yet there is a certain age in 
which repentance is " altogether and necessarily ineffect 
ual." Inconsistent, however, as these positions may be, 

positions and habit* of profane nominal Christians are as much formed 
a those of avowed infidels ; and their conversion to a holy life U at 
much an object of despair as the other. Yea, Dr. Priestley in the 
same place acknowledges that " to be mere nominal Christian* ic 
worse than to be no Christians at all." 



CONVERSION OF PROFLIGATES. 



one tiling is sufficiently evident ; namely, that the author 
considers the conversion of profligates, of the present age, 
us an object of despair. "Whatever the Gospel according to 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John may affirm, that accord 
ing to Dr. Priestley affords but very little, if any, hope to 
those who in Scripture are distinguished by the name of 
" sinners," " chief of sinners," and " lost." He does 
" not expect such conversion of profligate and habitually 
wicked men as shall make any remarkable change in their 
lives and characters. Their dispositions and habits are 
already formed, so that it can hardly be supposed to be in 
the power of new and better principles to change them." 
It cannot be unnatural, or uncandid, to suppose that these 
observations were made from experience ; or that Dr 
Priestley writes in this manner on account of his not be 
ing used to see any such effects arise from his ministry, or 
the ministry of those of his sentiments. 

There is a sort of preaching, however, even since the 
days of inspiration, and where Christianity has ceased to 
be a novelty, which has been attended in a good degree 
with similar effects to that of the apostles. Whatever was 
the cause, or however it is to be accounted for, there have 
been those whose labours have turned many, yea, many 
profligates, to righteousness ; and that by preaching the 
very doctrines which Dr. Priestley charges with being the 
" corruptions of Christianity," and which a once-humble 
admirer of his attempted to ridicule.* It is well known 
what sort of preaching it was that produced such great 
effects in many nations of Europe, about the time of the 
Reformation. Whatever different sentiments were pro 
fessed by the Reformers, I suppose they were so far agreed, 
that the doctrines of human depravity, the Deity and atone 
ment of Christ, justification by faith, and sanctification by 
the influence of the Holy Spirit, were the great topics of 
their ministry. 

Since the Reformation there have been special seasons in 
the churches in which a religious concern has greatly pre 
vailed, and multitudes were turned from their evil ways ; 
some from an open course of profaneness, and others from 
the mere form of godliness to the power of it. Much of 
this sort of success attended the labours of Perkins, Bollon, 
Taylor, Herbert, Hildersham, Blackerby, Gouge, Whit- 
aker, Bunyan, great numbers of the ejected ministers, and 
many since their time, in England ; of Livingstone, Bruce, 
Rutherford, M'Cullock, M'Laurin, Robe, Balfour, Suther 
land, and others, in Scotland ; of Franck and his fellow 
labourers in Germany ; and of Stoddard, Edwards, Ten- 
nant, Buel, and many others, in America. f And what 
Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse, in their Preface to Mr. Ed- 
wards's Narrative, said of his success, and that of some 
others, in America, might with equal truth have been said 
of the rest : " That it was the common plain protestant 
doctrine of the Reformation, without stretching towards 
the Antinomians on the one side, or the Arminians on the 
other, that the Spirit of God had been pleased to honour 
with such illustrious success." 

Nor are such effects peculiar to past ages. A consider 
able degree of the same kind of success has attended the 
Calvinistic churches in North America, within the last 
ten years ; especially in the States of Virginia, the Caro- 
linas, and Georgia. Nor is it peculiar to the western 
world, though they have been greatly favoured. I believe 
there are hundreds of ministers now in this kingdom, some 
in the Established Church, and others out of it, who could 
truly say to a considerable number of their auditors, as 
Paul said to the Corinthians, " Ye are our epistle, known 
and read of all men" " ye are manifestly declared to be 
the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with 
\nk, but with the Spirit of the living God ; not in tables 
of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." There are, 
likewise, hundreds of congregations, which might with 
propriety be addressed in the language of the same apostle 
to the same people, " And such were some of you (viz. 
fornicators, adulterers, thieyes, covetous, drunkards, re- 
vilers, extortioners) ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanc 
tified, but ye are justified." And those ministers by 
whose instrumentality these effects were produced, like 
their predecessors before mentioned, have dwelt principally 



See Fam. Let. XX11. P. 8. 



+ See Gillies' Hist. Coll. 



on the protestant doctrines of man's lost condition by 
nature, and salvation by grace only, through the atoning 
blood of Christ, together with the necessity of the regener 
ating influence of the Holy Spirit. When, therefore, they 
see such effects attend their labours, they think themselves 
warranted to ascribe them, as the apostle did, to " the 
name of the Lord Jesus, and to the Spirit of our God," 
1 Cor. vi. 11. 

The solid and valuable effects produced by this kind of 
preaching are attested by the late Mr. Robinson of Cam 
bridge, as well as by Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse. " Pre 
sumption and despair," said that ingenious writer, " are 
the two dangerous extremes to which mankind are prone 
in religious concerns. Charging home sin precludes the 
first, proclaiming redemption prevents the last. This has 
been the method which the Holy Spirit has thought fit to 
seal and succeed in the hands of his ministers. Wickliffe, 
Luther, Knox, Latimer, Gilpin, Bunyan, Livingstone, 
Franck, Blair, Elliot, Edwards, Whitefield, Tennant, and 
all who have been eminently blessed to the revival of 
practical godliness, have constantly availed themselves of 
this method ; and, prejudice apart, it is impossible to deny 
that great and excellent moral effects have followed. "J 

Should it be alleged that Mr. Robinson, before he died, 
changed his opinions in these matters, and reckoned all 
such things as these enthusiasm, it might be answered, A 
change of opinion in Mr. Robinson can make no change 
in the " facts," as he justly calls them, which he did him 
self the honour to record. Besides, the effects of this kind 
of preaching are not only recorded by Mr. Robinson, but 
by those who triumph in his conversion to their principles. 
Dr. Priestley professes to think highly of the Methodists, 
and acknowledges that they have " civilized and Christian 
ized a great part of the uncivilized and unchristianized part 
of this country. " Also, in his Discourses on Various 
Subjects, p. 375, he allows their preaching to produce 
" more striking effects" than that of Socimaiis, and goes 
about to account for it. 

A matter of fact, so notorious as this, and of so much 
consequence in the controversy, requires^ to be well ac 
counted for. Dr. Priestley seems to have felt the force of 
the objection that might be made to his principles on this 
ground ; and therefore attempts to obviate it. But by 
what medium is this attempted 1 The same principle by 
which he tries to account for the wonderful success of the 
gospel in the primitive ages is to account for the effects 
produced by such preaching as that of the Methodists : 
the ignorance of their auditors giving what they say to them 
the force of NOVELTY. The Doctor is pleased to add, 
" Our people having in general been brought up in habits 
of virtue, such great changes in character and conduct are 
less necessary in their case." 

A few remarks in reply to the above shall close this 
letter. First, If novelty be indeed that efficacious prin 
ciple which Dr. Priestley makes it to be, one should think 
it were desirable, every century or two, at least, to have a 
new dispensation of religion. 

Secondly, If the great success of the primitive preachers 
was owing to this curious cause, is it not extraordinary 
that they themselves should never be acquainted with it, 
nor communicate a secret of such importance to their suc 
cessors t They are not only silent about it, but, in some 
cases, appear to act upon a contrary principle. Paul, when 
avowing the subject-matter of his ministry before Agrippa, 
seemed to disclaim every thing novel, declaring that he had 
said " none other things than those which the prophets 
and Moses did say should come." And as to the cause of 
their success, they seem never to have thought of any thing 
but " the hand of the Lord that was with them " " The 
working of his mighty power " " Who caused them to 
triumph in Christ, making manifest the savour of his 
knowledge by them in every place." 

Thirdly, If novelty be what Dr. Priestley makes it to be, 
the plea of Dives had much more of truth in it than the 
answer of Abraham. He pleaded that " if one rose from 
the dead, men would repent: " the novelty of the thing, he 
supposed, must strike them. But Abraham answered as 
if he had no notion of the power of mere novelty, " If 

Translation of Claude. Vol. II. p. 364. Note. { Finn. Let. VII. 






CONVERSION OF PROFLIGATES. 



they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they 
be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." 

Fourthly, If the success of the apostles was owing to the 
novelty of their mission, it might have been expected that 
at Athens, where a taste for hearing and telling of new 
tliiii'/s occupied the whole attention of the people, their 
success would have been the greatest. Every body knows 
that a congeniality of mind in an audience to the things 
propos.-d wonderfully facilitates the reception of them. 
as the gospel was as much of a novelty to them as to 
the most barbarous nations, and as they were possessed of 
a peculiar turn of mind which delighted in every thing of 
that nature, it might have been expected, on the above 
hypothesis, that a harvest of souls would there have been 
gathered in. But instead of this, the gospel is well known 
to have been less successful in this famous city than in 
many other places. 

1 ifthly, Some of the most striking effects, both in early 
and later ages, were not accompanied with the circumstance 
of novelty. The sermon of Peter to the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem contained no new doctrine ; it only pressed 
upon them the same things, for substance, which they had 
heard and rejected from the lips of Christ himself; and, on 
a prejadgment of the issue by the usual course of things, 
th.-v would probably have been considered as more likely 
to reject Peter's doctrine than that of Christ ; because, 
when once people have set their hands to a business, they 
01 2 generally more loth to relinquish it, and own them 
selves in the wrong, than at first to forbear to engage in it. 
And as to later times, the effects produced by the preach 
ing of Whitefield, Edwards, and others, were many of them 
1JI...H people not remarkably ignorant, but who had at 
tended preaching of a similar kind all their lives without 
any such effect. The former, it is well known, preached 
the same doctrines in Scotland and America as the people 
were used to hear every Lord's day ; and that with great 
iffect among persons of a lukewarm and careless descrip 
tion. The latter, in his Narrative of the Work of God in 
and about Northampton, represents the inhabitants as hav 
ing been " a rational and understanding people." Indeed, 
they must have been such, or they could not have under 
stood the compass of argument contained in Mr. Edwards's 
Sermons on Justification, which were delivered about that 
time, and are said to have been the means of great reli 
gious concern among the hearers. Nor were these effects 
produced by airs and gestures, or any of those extraordinary 
things in the manner of the preacher which give a kind of 
novelty to a sermon, and sometimes tend to move the 
affections of the hearers. Mr. Prince, who, it seems, had 
often heard Mr. Edwards preach, and observed the remark 
able conviction which attended his ministry, describes, in 
his Christian History, his manner of preaching. " He was 
a preacher," says he, "of a low and moderate voice, a 
natural deliver)-, and without any agitation of body, or any 
thing else in the manner to excite attention, except his 
habitual and great solemnity, looking and speaking as in 
the presence of God, and with a weighty sense of the 
matter delivered."* 

Sixthly, Suppose the circumstance of novelty to have 
great efficacy, the question is, with respect to such preach 
ing as that of the Methodists, Whether it has efficacy 
enough to render the truth of the doctrine of no account, 
is well known that the main doctrines which the Method- 
have taught are man's lost condition by nature and 
vatton by the atonement of Christ ; but these, according 
Dr. Priestley, are false doctrines ; no part of Chris- 
nity, but the "corruptions" of it ; and "such as must 
nd, if they have any effect, to relax the obligations to 
virtue." But if so, how came it to pass that the preaching 
iem should "civilize and Christianize mankind 1" 
WoveHy may do wonders, it is granted ; but still the nature 
>e wonders will correspond with the nature of the 
nciples taught. All that it can be supposed to do is to 
re additional energy to the principles which it accom- 
ies. The heating of a furnace seven times hotter than 
al would not endue it with the properties of water ; and 
Her, put into the most powerful motion, would not be 
rapable of producing the effects of fire. One would think 



Gillie* '$ HUt. Coll. II. 19. 



+ Sermon, p. 88. 



57 

it were equally evident that falsehood, though accompanied 
with novelty, could never have the effect of truth. 

Once more, It may be questioned whether the gener 
ality of people who make up Socinian congregations stand 
in less need of a change of character and conduct than 
others. Mr. Belsham says that "rational Christians are 
often represented as indifferent to practical religion ;" and 
admits, though with apparent reluctance, that " there has 
been some plausible ground for the accusation." f Dr. 
Priestley admits the same thing, and they both go about to 
account for it in the same way.J Now, whether their 
method of accounting for it be ju*t or not, they admit the 
fact ; and hence we may conclude that the generality of 
"rational Christians" are not so righteous as to need no 
repentance ; and that the reason why their preaching does 
not turn sinners to righteousness is not owing to their 
want of an equal proportion of sinners to be turned. 

But supposing the Socinian congregations were gener 
ally so virtuous as to need no great change of character ; 
or, if they did need if, so well informed that nothing could 
strike them as a novelty ; that is not the case with the 
bulk of mankind amongst whom they live. Now if a 
great change of character may be produced by the mere 
power of novelty, why do not Dr. Priestley and those of 
his sentiments go forth, like some others, to the highways 
and hedges t Why does not he surprise the benighted po 
pulace into the love of God and holiness with his new 
doctrines 1 (New he must acknowledge they are to them.) 
If false doctrine, such as that which the Methodists hare 
taught, may, through the power of novelty, do such won 
ders, what might not be expected from the true ! I have been 
told that Dr. Priestley has expressed a wish to go into the 
streets, and preach to the common people. Let him, or 
those of his sentiments, make the trial. Though the peo 
ple of Birmingham have treated him so uncivilly, I hope 
both he and they would meet with better treatment in 
other parts of the country ; and if, by the power of 11. velty, 
they can turn but a few sinners from the error of their 
ways, and save their souls from death, it will be an object 
worthy of their attention. 

But should Dr. Priestley, or any others of his senti 
ments, go forth on such an errand, and still retain their 
principles, they must reverse the declaration of our Lord, 
and say, We come not to call sinners, but the righteous to 
repentance. All their hope must be in the uncontamiuated 
youth, or the better sort of people, whose habits in the 
path of vice are not so strong but that they may be over 
come. Should they, in the course of their labours, behold 
a malefactor approaching the hour of his execution, what 
must they dot Alas! like the priest and the Levite, they 
must pass by on the other side. They could not so much 
as admonish him to repentance with any degree of hope, 
because they consider " all late repentance, and especially 
after long and confirmed habits of vice, as absolutely and 
necessarily ineffectual." Happy for many a poor wretch 
of that description, happy especially for the poor thief 
upon the cross, that Jesus Christ acted on a different 
principle ! 

These, brethren, are matters that come within the know- 
ledge of every man of observation ; and it behoves you, in 
such cases, to know "not the speech of them that are 
puffed up, but the power." 



LETTER III. 

fONVERSION OF PROFESSED UNBELIEVERS. 

SOCINIAN writers are very sanguine on the tendency of 
.heir views of things to convert infidels ; namely, Jews, 
leathens, and Mahometans. They reckon that our notions 
of the Trinity form the grand obstacle to their conversion. 
Dr. Priestley often suggests that, so long as we maintain 
.he Deity of Jesus Christ, there is no hope of converting 
he Jews, because this doctrine contradicts the first prin 
ciple of their religion, the unity of God. Things not 

t Diic. Vtr. Sub. p. 95. \ Ibid. p. 838. Alto PhiJ. Nee. p. 156. 



58 



CONVERSION OF PROFESSED UNBELIEVERS. 



altogether, but nearly similar, are said concerning the con 
version of the heathens and Mahometans, especially the 
latter. On this subject, the following observations are 
submitted to your consideration. 

With respect to the Jews, they know very well that 
those who believe in the Deity of Christ profess to believe 
in the unity of God ; and if they will not admit this to 
be consistent, they must depart from what is plainly implied 
in the language of their ancestors. If the Jews in the 
time of Christ had thought it impossible, or, which is the 
same thing, inconsistent with the unity of God, that God 
the Father should have a Son equal to himself, how came 
they to attach the idea of equality to that of sonship t 
Jesus asserted that God was his "own Father;" which 
they understood as making himself " equal with God;" 
nnd therefore they sought to kill him as a blasphemer. 
Had the Jews affixed those ideas to sonship which are 
entertained by our opponents, namely, as implying no 
thing more than simple humanity, why did they accuse 
Jesus of blasphemy for assuming it ! They did not deny 
that to be God's own Son was to be equal with the Father ; 
nor did they allege that such an equality would destroy 
the Divine unity : a thought of this kind seems never to 
have occurred to their minds. The idea to which they 
objected was, that Jesiis of Nazareth was the Son of God ; 
and hence, it is probable, the profession of this great 
article was considered in the apostolic age as the criterion 
of Christianity, Acts viii. 37. Were this article admitted 
by the modern Jews, they must reason differently from 
their ancestors, if they scrupled to admit that Christ is 
equal with the Father. 

The Jews were greatly offended at our Lord's words ; 
and his not explaining them so as to remove the stumbling- 
block out of the way may serve to teach us how we ought 
to proceed in removing stumbling-blocks out of the way 
of their posterity. For this cause they sought to kill him 
" because he had said that God was his Father, making 
himself equal with God." " Jesus said, I and my Father 
are one. Then they took up stones to stone him." When 
he told them of " many good works that he had shown 
them," and asked, " For which of those works do ye stone 
met" they replied, " For a good work we stone thee not, 
but for blasphemy ; and because thou, being a man, makest 
thyself God." Hence it is evident that, whether Jesus 
Christ be truly God, or not, they understood him as as 
serting that he was so ; that is, they understood his claim 
ing the relation of God's own Son, and declaring that He 
and his Father were one, as implying so much. This was 
their stumbling-block. Nor does it appear that Jesus did 
any thing towards removing it out of their way. It is 
certain he did not so remove it as to afford them the least 
satisfaction ; for they continued to think him guilty of 
the same blasphemy to the last, and for that adjudged 
him worthy of death, Matt. xxvi. 63, 66. If Jesus never 
thought of being equal with God, it is a pity there should 
have been such a misunderstanding between them, a 
misunderstanding that proved the occasion of putting him 
to death ! 

Such an hypothesis, to be sure, may answer one end ; 
it may give us a more favourable idea of the conduct of 
the Jews than we have been wont to entertain. If it 
does not entirely justify their procedure, it greatly ex 
tenuates it. They erred, it seems, in imagining that Jesus, 
by declaring himself the Son of God, made himself equal 
with God; and thus, through mistaking his meaning, put 
him to death as a blasphemer. But then it might be 
pleaded, on their behalf, that Jesus never suggested that 
they were in an error in this matter ; that, instead of in 
forming them that the name Son of God implied nothing 
more than simple humanity, he went on to say, among 
other things, " That all men should honour the Son, even 
as they honour the Father;" and instead of disowning 
with abhorrence the idea of making himself God, he 

Millar's Propagation of Christianity, Vol. II. pp. 388. 438. 

+ Mr. Levi's Letters to Dr. Priestley, pp. 76, 77. 

t "Rational, that is, Unitarian Christians." Why need Dr. Priestley 
be so particular in informing- his reader that a rational Christian sig 
nifies a Unitarian Christian ? To be sure, all the world knew, long 
enough ago, that rationality was confined to Ihe Unitarians ! Doubt 
less, they are the people, and wisdom will die with them ! When Dr. 
Priestley speaks of persons of his own sentiments, he calls them 



seemed to justify it, by arguing from the less to the greatei 
from the image of the thing to the thing itself, John 
34 36. Now, these things considered, should an impar 
tial jury sit in judgment upon their conduct, one woulc 
think they could not, with Stephen, bring it in mi/rder 
to make the most of it, it could be nothing worse than 
manslaughter. All this may tend to conciliate the Jews 
as it tends to roll away the reproach which, in the esteen 
of Christians, lies upon their ancestors for crucifying the 
Lord of glory ; but whether it will have any influence 
towards their conversion is another question. It is pos 
sible that, in proportion as it confirms their good opinion 
of their forefathers, it may confirm their ill opinion o: 
Jesus, for having, by his obscure and ambiguous language, 
given occasion for such a misunderstanding between them 
Could the Jews but once be brought to feel that temper 
of mind which it is predicted in their own prophets they 
shall feel could they but " look on Him whom they have 
pierced, and mourn for him as one mourneth for his only 
son, and be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitter 
ness for his first-born" I should be under no apprehen 
sions respecting their acknowledging his proper Divinity, 
or embracing him as the great atonement, to the " foun 
tain " of whose blood they would joyfully repair, thai 
they might be cleansed from their sin and their unclean- 
ness, Zech. xii. 10; xiii. 1. 

Nearly the same things might be observed respecting 
heathens and Mahometans. We may so model the gospel 
as almost to accommodate it to their taste ; and by this 
means we may come nearer together : but whether, in so 
doing, we shall not be rather converted to them, than they 
to us, deserves to be considered. Christianity may be so 
heathenized that a man may believe in it, and yet be no 
Christian. Were it true, therefore, that Socinianism had 
a tendency to induce professed infidels, by meeting them, 
as it were, half way, to take upon them the Christian 
name, still it would not follow that it was of any real 
use. The popish missionaries, of the last century, in 
China, acted upon the principle of accommodation ; they 
gave up the main things in which Christians and heathens 
had been used to differ, and allowed the Chinese every 
favourite species of idolatry. The consequence was, they 
had a great many converts, such as they were ; but think 
ing people looked upon the missionaries as more converted 
to heathenism, than the Chinese heathens to Christianity.* 

But even this effect is more than may be expected from 
Socinian doctrines among the heathen. The popish mis 
sionaries had engines to work with which Socinians have 
not. They were sent by an authority which, at that time, 
had weight in the world ; and their religion was accom 
panied with pomp and superstition. These were matters 
which, though far from recommending their mission to the 
approbation of serious Christians, yet would be sure to 
recommend it to the Chinese. They stripped the gospel 
of all its real glory, and, in its place, substituted a false 
glory. But Socinianism, while it divests the gospel of all 
that is interesting and affecting to the souls of men, sub 
stitutes nothing in its place. If it be Christianity at all, 
it is, as the ingenious Mrs. Barbauld is said in time past 
to have expressed it, " Christianity in the frigid zone." 
It may be expected, therefore, that no considerable number 
of professed infidels will ever think it worthy of their at 
tention. Like the Jeio, they will pronounce every attempt 
to convert them by these accommodating principles nuga 
tory ; and be ready to ask, with him, What they shall do 
more, by embracing Christianity, than they already rfo.f 

Dr. Priestley, however, is for coming to action, " Let a 
free intercourse be opened," says he, " between Mahomet 
ans and rational, that is, Unitarian Christians,;* and I 
shall have no doubt with respect to the consequence." 
And, again, " Let the Hindoos, as well as the Mahometans, 
become acquainted with our literature, and have free in 
tercourse with Unitarian Christians, and I have no doubt 

" rational Christians ; " when, in the same page, lie speaks of such at 
differ from him, he calls them "those who assume to themselves the 
distinguishing title of orthodox." Considerations on Difference oj 
Opinion, } 3. Query, Is the latter of these names assumed any more 
than the former ; and ig Dr. Priestley a fit person to reprove a body 
of people for assuming a name which implies what their adversaries 
do not admit? 



CONVERSION OF PROFESSED UNBELIEVERS. 



59 



but the result will be in favour of Christianity."* So, 
then, when heathens and Mahometans are to be converted, 
Trinitarians, like those of Gideon's army that bowed down 
their knees to drink, must sit at home ; and the whole of 
the expedition, it seems, must be conducted by Unitarians, 
as by the three hundred men that lapped. Poor Trinita 
rians, deemed unworthy of an intercourse with heathens! 
.f yon must tie denied, as by a kind of Test Act, the 
privilege of bearing arms in this Divine war, surely you 
have a riirht to expect that those who shall be possessed of 
it should act valiantly, and do exploits. But what ground 
hare yon on which to rest your expectations 1 None, ex 
cept Dr. Priestley's good conceit of his opinions. When 
was it known that any considerable number of heathens 
hometans were converted by the Socinian doctrine t 
Sanguine as the Doctor is on this subject, where are the 
facts on which his expectations are founded 1 

Trinitarians, however, whether Dr. Priestley think them 
worthy or not, have gone among the heathens, and that 
not many yean ago, and preached what they thought the 
gospel of Christ ; and I may add, from facts that cannot 
be disputed, with considerable success. The Dutch, the 
Danes, and the English have each made some attempts in 
the East, and, I hope, not without some good effects. If 
we were to call that conversion which many professors of 
Christianity would call so without any scruple, we might 
boast of the conversion of a great many thousands in those 
parts. But it is acknowledged that many of the conver 
sions in the East were little, if any thing, more than a 
chnnsje of denomination. The greatest and best work, 
and the most worthy of the name of conversion, of which 
I have read, is that which has taken place by the labours 
of the Anglo-Americans among the natives. They have, 
indeed, wrought wonders. Mr. Elliot, the first minister 
who engaged in this work, went over to New England in 
1632 ; and being warmed with a holy zeal for converting 
the natives, learned their language, and preached to them 
in it. He also, with great labour, translated the Bible, 
and some English treatises, into the same language. God 
made him eminently useful for the turning of these poor 
heathens to himself. He settled a number of Christian 
churches, and ordained elders over them, from among 
themselves. After a life of unremitted labour in this im 
portant undertaking, he died in a good old age, and has 
ever since been known, both among the English and the 
natives, by the name of The Apostle of the American In 
dians. 

Nor were these converts like many of those in the East, 
who professed they knew not what, and, in a little time, 
went off again as fast as they came : the generality of them 
understood and felt what they professed, and persevered 
to the end of their lives. Mr. Elliot's example stimulated 
many others : some in his lifetime, and others after his 
death, laboured much, and were blessed to the conversion 
of thousands among the Indians. The names and labours 
of Bourn, Fitch, Mahew, Pierson, Gookin, Thatcher, Raw- 
son, Treat, Tupper, Cotton, Walter, Sargeant, Davenport, 
Park, Horton, Brainerd, and Edwards, are remembered 
with joy and gratitude in those benighted regions of the 
earth. Query, Were ever any such effects as these wrought 
by preaching Socinian doctrines 1 

Great things have been done among the heathens, of 
late years, by the Moravians. About the year 1733, they 
sent missionaries to Greenland a most inhospitable 
country indeed, but containing about ten thousand in 
habitants, all enveloped in pagan darkness. After the 
labour of several years, apparently in vain, success attended 
their efforts ; and in the course of twenty or thirty years, 
about seven hundred heathens are said to have been bap 
tized, and to have lived the life of Christians.f They 
have done great good also in the most northern parts of 
North America, among the Esqitimavjc ; and still more 
among the negroes in the West India islands, where, at 
the close of 1788, upwards of thirteen thousand of those 
poor, injured, and degraded people were formed into 
Christian societies. The views of Moravians, it is true, 
are different from ours in several particulars, especially in 
matters relating to church government and discipline ; but 

I^t.Vnb. II. 116,117. + 8*e Crantx'i History of Greenland. | 



they appear to possess a great deal of godly simplicity; 
and as to the doctrines which they inculcate, th. 

mostly, what we esteem exan^elieal. The doi-tri'ne of 

atonement by the death of Christ, in particular, forms the 
great subject of their ministry. The first person in (Jnen- 
laud who appeared willing to receive the gospel was an 
old man who came to the missionaries for instruction. 
" We told him," say they, " as well as we could, of the 
creation of man, and the intent thereof of the fall and 
corruption of nature of the redemption effected by Christ 
of the resurrection of all men, and eternal happiness or 
damnation." They inform us, afterwards, that the doc 
trine of the cross, or " the Creator's taking upon him hu 
man nature, and dying for our sins," was the most power 
ful means of impressing the minds of the heathen, and of 
turning their hearts to God. " On this account," they 
add, " we determined (like Paul) to know nothing but 
Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 

Now consider, brethren, were there ever any such effects 
as the above wrought by the Socinian doctrine 1 If there 
were, let them be brought to light. Nay, let a single in 
stance be produced of a Socinian teacher having so much 
virtue or benevolence in him as to make the attempt, so 
much virtue or benevolence as to venture among a race of 
barbarians, merely with a view to their conversion. 

But we have unbelievers at home ; and Dr. Priestley, 
persuaded of the tendency of his principles to convert, has 
lately made some experiments upon them, as being within 
his reach. He has done well. There is nothing like ex 
periment, in religion as well as in philosophy. As to what 
tendency his sentiments would hate upon heathens and 
Mahometans, provided a free intercourse could be obtained, 
it is all conjecture. The best way to know their efficacy 
is by trial ; and trial has been made. Dr. Priestley has 
addressed Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever, and Letters 
to the Jetrs. Whether this seed will spring up, it is true, 
we must not yet decide. Some little time after he had 
published, however, he himself acknowledged, in his Let 
ters to Mr. Hammon, " I do not know that my book has 
converted a single unbeliever." Perhaps he might say the 
same still ; and that, not only of his Letters to a Philo 
sophical Unbeliever, but of those to the Jews. 

If the opinion of the Jews may in any degree be col 
lected from the answer of their champion, 3/r. David Levi, 
so far are they from being convinced of the truth of Chris 
tianity by Dr. Priestley's writings, that they suspect 
whether he himself be a Christian. " Your doctrine," 
says Mr. Levi, " is so opposite to what I always under 
stood to be the principles of Christianity, that I must in 
genuously confess I am greatly puzzled to reconcile your 
principles to the attempt. What ! a writer that asserts 
that the miraculous conception of Jesus does not appear to 
him to be sufficiently authenticated, and that the original 
Gospel of St. Matthew did not contain it, set up for a de 
fender of Christianity against the Jews, is such an incon 
sistency as I did not expect to meet with in a philosopher, 
whose sole pursuit hath been in search of truth. You are 
pleased to declare, in plain terms, that you do not believe in 
the miraculous conception of Jesus, and that you are of 
opinion that he was the legitimate son of Joseph. After 
such assertions as these, how you can be entitled to the 
appellation of ' a Christian,' in the strict sense of the 
word, is to me really incomprehensible. If I am not 
greatly mistaken, I verily believe that the honour of Jesus, 
and the propagation of Christianity, are things of little 
moment in your serious thoughts, notwithstanding all your 
boasted sincerity." To say nothing of the opinion of the 
Jews concerning what is Christianity having all the weight 
that is usually attributed to the judgment of impartial by 
standers, the above quotations afford but little reason to 
hope for their conversion to Christianity by Socinian doc 
trines. 

But still, it may be said, We know not what is to come. 
True : but this we know, that if any considerable fruit 
arise from the Addresses above referred to, it is yet to come ; 
and not from these Addresses only, but, I am inclined to 
think, from any thing that has been attempted by Socini- 
ans for the conversion of unbelievers. 

Is it not a feet that Socinian principles render men in 
different to this great object, and even induce them to treat 



GO 



THE NUMBER OF SOCINIAN CONVERTS. 



it with contempt* The Monthly Pevietcers, (Dec. 1792,^ 
in reviewing Mr. Carey's late publication on this subject 
infer from his acknowledgments of the baneful influence 
of wicked Europeans in their intercourse with heathens 
and the great corruptions among the various denominations 
of professing Christians, that if so, " far better is the light 
of nature, as communicated by their Creator, than any 
light that our officiousness disposes us to carry to them." 
By Europeans who have communicated their Tices to 
heathens, Mr. Carey undoubtedly meant, not those minis 
ters of the gospel, or those serious Christians, who have 
gone among them for their good ; but navigators, mer 
chants, and adventurers, whose sole object was to enrich 
themselves : and though he acknowledges a great deal oi 
degeneracy and corruption to have infected the Christian 
world, yet the qualifications which he requires in a mission 
ary might have secured his proposal from censure, and 
doubtless would have done so, had not the Reviewers 
been disposed to throw cold water upon every such under 
taking. If, indeed, there be none to be found among pro 
fessing Christians, except such as, by their intercourse 
with heathens, would only render their state worse than 
it was before, let the design be given up ; but if other 
wise, the objection is of no force. 

The Reviewers will acknowledge that great corruptions 
have attended the civil government of Europe, not except 
ing that of our own country, and that we are constantly 
engaged in dissensions on the subject ; yet I have no 
doubt but they could find certain individuals who, if they 
were placed in the midst cf an uncivilized people, would 
be capable of affording them substantial assistance would 
teach them to establish good laws, good order, and equal 
liberty. Nor would they think of concluding, because 
European conquerors and courtiers, knowing no higher 
motive than self-interest, instead of meliorating the con 
dition of uncivilized nations, have injured it, that there 
fore it was vain for any European to think of doing other 
wise. Neither would they regard the sneers of the ene 
mies of civil liberty and equity, who might deride them 
as a little flock of conceited politicians, or, at best, of inex 
perienced philanthropists, whose plans might amuse in the 
closet, but would not bear in real life. Why is it that 
we are to be sceptical and inactive in nothing but re 
ligion ! 

Had Mr. Carey, after the example of Dr. Priestley, pro 
posed that his own denomination only should open an inter 
course with heathens, the Reviewers would have accused 
him of illiberality ; and now, when he proposes that "other 
denominations should engage separately in promoting mis 
sions," this, it is said, would be " spreading our religious 
dissensions over the globe." How, then, are these gen 
tlemen to be pleased t By sitting still, it should seem, 
and persuading ourselves that it is impossible to find out 
what is true religion ; or if not, that it is but of little im 
portance to disseminate it. But why is it, I again ask, 
that we are to be sceptical and inactive in nothing but 
religion ! The result is this : Socinianism, so far from 
being friendly to the conversion of unbelievers, is neither 
adapted to the end nor favourable to the means to those 
means, at least, by which it has pleased God to save them 
that believe. 



LETTER IV. 

THE ARGUMENT FROM THE NUMBER OF CONVERTS TO 
SOCINIANISM EXAMINED. 

IF facts be admitted as evidence, perhaps it will appear 
that Socinianism is not so much adapted to make converts 
of Jews, heathens, Mahometans, or philosophical unbe 
lievers, as of a speculating sort of people among professing 
Christians. These in our own country are found, some in 

* I have not scrupled to class the Monthly Reviewers among So- 

iians. Although in a work of that kind there is frequently, no 

oubt a change of hands : yet it is easy to see that, of late years, (a 

very short interval excepted.) it has been principally, if not entirely, 

under Socinian direction ; and, so far as religion is concerned, has 



the Established Church, and others among the Dissenters 
Among people of this description, I suppose, Socinianism 
has gained considerable ground. Of this Dr. Priestley 
and others of his party, are frequently making their boast 
Disc. pp. 93, 94. But whether they have any cause foi 
boasting, even in this case, may be justly doubted. In the 
first place, let it be considered that, though Socinianism 
may gain ground among speculating individuals, yet the 
congregations where that system, or what bears a near re 
semblance to it, is taught, are greatly upon the decline 
There are, at this time, a great many places of worship in 
this kingdom, especially among the Presbyterians and the 
General Baptists, where the Socinian and Arian doctrines 
have been taught till the congregations have gradually 
dwindled away, and there are scarcely enow left to keep up 
the form of worship. There is nothing in either of these 
systems, comparatively speaking, that alarms the con 
science, or interests the heart ; and therefore the congrega 
tions where they are taught, unless kept up by the acci 
dental popularity of a preacher, or some other circum 
stances distinct from the doctrine delivered, generally fall 
into decay. 

But, further, let us examine a little more particularly 
what sort of people they, in general, are who are con 
verted to Socinianism. It is an object worthy of inquiry, 
whether they appear to be modest, humble, serious Chris 
tians, such as have known the plague of their own hearts ; 
in whom tribulation hath wrought patience, and patience 
experience ; such as know WHOM they have believed, and 
have learned to count all things but loss for the ex 
cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord ; such 
as, in their investigation of sentiments, have been used to 
mingle earnest and humble prayer with patient and impar 
tial inquiry; such, in fine, as have become little children 
in their own eyes. If they be, it is a circumstance of con 
sequence, not sufficient, indeed, to justify their change of 
sentiments, but to render that change an object of atten 
tion. When persons of this description embrace a set of 
new principles, it becomes a matter of serious consideration 
what could induce them to do so. But if they be not, 
their case deserves but little regard. When the body of 
converts to a system are mere speculatists in religion, men 
of little or no seriousness, and who pay no manner of at 
tention to vital and practical religion, it reflects neither 
honour on the cause they have espoused, nor dishonour on 
that which they have rejected. When we see persons of 
this stamp go over to the Socinian standard, it does not at 
all surprise us : oil the contrary, we are ready to say, as 
the apostle said of the defection of some of the professors 
of Christianity in his day, " They went out from us, but 
they were not of us." 

That many of the Socinian converts were previously men 
of no serious religion, needs no other proof than the ac 
knowledgment of Dr. Priestley, and of Mr. Belsham. " It 
cannot be denied," says the former, " that many of those 
who judge so truly, concerning particular tenets in religion, 
have attained to that cool and unbiassed temper of mind 
in consequence of becoming more indifferent to religion in 
general, and to all the modes and doctrines of it." And 
this indifference to all religion is considered by Dr. Priest 
ley as " favourable to a distinguishing between truth and 
falsehood," Disc. p. 65. Much to the same purpose is 
what Mr. Belsham alleges, (p. 32,) as quoted before, that 
" men who are most indifferent to the practice of religion, 
and whose minds, therefore, are least attached to any set 
of principles, will ever be the first to see the absurdity of a 
popular superstition, and to embrace a rational system of 
faith." It is easy to see, one should think, from hence, 
what sort of characters those are which compose the body 
of Socinian converts. 

Dr. Priestley, however, considers this circumstance as 
reflecting no dishonour upon his principles. He thinks 
he has fully accounted for it. So thinks Mr. Belsham ; 
and so think the Monthly Reviewers, in their Review of 
Mr. Belsham's Sermon.* 

>een used as an instrument for the propagation of that system. Im 
partiality towards Calvinistic writers is not, therefore, to be expected 
'rom that quarter. It is true they sometimes affect to stand aloof from 
all parties, but it is mere affectation. Nothing can be more absurd 
linn to expect them to judge impartially in a cause wherein they 



THE NUMBER OF SOCINIAN CONVERTS. 



61 



Surely Socinians must be wretchedly driven, or they 
would not have recourse to such a refuge as that of ac 
knowledging that they hnld a :">-] I t!i" l^t preparative 
for which N ;t hrii.ir il-'-ttitute of all religion! " What a 
reflection," says Dr. Williams, in his answer to this ser 
mon, " is here implied" on the most eminent reformers of 
ige, who were the first to see the absurdities of a 
popular superstition, and the falsity of reigning principles ! 
What a poor compliment to the religious character of Uni 
tarian reformers ! According to this account, one might 
be tempted to a--k, Was it by being indifferent to the prac- 
:i-li_'ion that Mr. Belsham was qualified to see and 
pronounce Calvinism to be gloomy and erroneous, an un- 
amiable and melancholy system t Charity forbids us to 
think he was thus qualified ; and if so, by his own rule 
he is no very competent judge ; except he is pleased to 
adopt the alternative, that he is only the humble follower 
of more sagacious but irreligious guides." 

We read of different kinds of preparatives in the Scrip- 
. but I do not recollect that they contain any thing 
like the above. Zeal and attention, a disposition to search 
and pray, according to Solomon, (Prov. ii. 1 9,) is a pre 
parative for the discovery of truth. The piety of Cornelius, 
which he exercised according to the opportunities he pos 
sessed of obtaining light, was a preparative for his reception 
of the gospel as soon as he heard it. And this accords 
with our Lord's declaration, " He that will do his will 
shall know of his doctrine." On the other hand, the cold 
indifference of some in the apostolic age, " who received 
not the love of the truth," but, as it should seem, held it 
with a loose hand, even while they professed it, was equally 
a preparative for apostacy. We also read of some, in 
Isaiah's time, who " leaned very much to a life of dissipa- 
tin ;" they" erred through wine." " All tables are full 
of Tomit and filthiness," (saith the prophet, describing one 
of their assemblies,) " so that there is no place." He 
adds, " Whom shall he. teach knowledge, and whom shall 
he make to understand doctrine V And what is the an 
swer t Were the men who " leaned to a life of dissipa 
tion," who leved to suck at the breasts of sensual indul 
gence, the proper subjects 1 No : ' those that were 
weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts." But 
now, it seems, the case is altered, and, in order to find out 
the truth, the most likely way is to be divested of all re 
ligion ! 

It is true these things are spoken of what are called 
'speculative Unitarians," whom Dr. Priestley calls "men 
of the world," and distinguishes from " serious Chris 
tians." He endeavours also to guard his cause by observ 
ing that the bulk of professing Christians, or of those who 
should have ranked as Christians, in every age, had been 
of this description. It must be acknowledged that there 
have been lukewarm, dissipated, and merely nominal 
Christians, in all ages of the church, and in every denomi 
nation : I suspect, however, that Dr. Priestley, in order to 
reduce the state of the church in general to that of the 
Unitarians, has rather magnified this matter. But, be that 
as it may, there are tico circumstances which render it im 
proper for him to reason from this case to the other : 
whatever bad characters have ranked with other 
denominations (at least with ours) as to their religious 
we do not own, or consider them as " converts ;" 
much less do we glory in the spread of our principles, 
whi-ii men of that character profess to embrace them, as 
this writer does.* If we speak of converts to our prin- 
we disown such people, and leave them out of the 
account, as persons whose walk and conversation, what- 

themselves are parties; absurd, however, as it is, gome persons are 
weak enough to be imposed upon by their pretence*. Perhaps of late 
yean the Monthly Ke\iew has more contributed to the spreading of 
Socinianism than all other writings put together. The plan of that 
work does not admit of argumentation : a sudden flash of wit is gener- 
koned sufficient to discredit a Calvinislic performance; and 
this just suits the turn of those who are destitute of all religion. A 
laborious investigation of matters would not suit their temper of 
mtnd ; (hey had rather subscribe to the well-known maxim, that 
" ridicule is the test of truth ;" and then, whenever the Reviewers hold 
up a doctrine as ridiculous, they have nothing to do but to coin the 
laugh, and conclude it to be a " vulgar error, or a popular super 
stition." 

Disc. pp. 91. 93, 94 + lb. p. 95. 

t Since the publication of the first edition of these Letters, a report 
bat been circulated that Dr. Priestley has been mitrfpretented by the 



ever be their speculative opinions, discover them to be 
" enemies to the cross of Christ." But were the Socinians 
to do so, it is more than probable that the number of con- 
f whom they boast would be greatly diminished. 
Secondly, whenever irreligious characters profess to imbibe 
our principles, we do not consider their state of mind as 
friendly to them. That which we account truth is a sys 
tem of holiness ; a system, therefore, which men of " no 
religion " will never cordially embrace. Persons may, in 
deed, embrace a notion about the certainty of the Divine 
decrees, and the necessity of things being as they are to 
be, whether the proper means be used or not ; and they 
may live in the neglect of all means, and of all practical 
religion, and may reckon themselves, and be reckoned by 
some others, among the Calvinists. To such a creed as 
this, it is allowed, the want of all religion is the best pre 
parative ; but then it must be observed that the creed 
itself is as false as the practice attending it is impure, and 
as opposite to Calvinism as it is to Scripture and common 
sense. Our opponents, on the contrary, ascribe many of 
their conversions to the absence of religion, as their pro 
per cause, granting that " many of those who judge so 
truly, concerning particular tenets in religion, have at 
tained to that cool, unbiassed temper of mind in conse 
quence of becoming more indifferent to religion in general, 
and to all the modes and doctrines of it." Could this ac 
knowledgment be considered as the mistake of an un 
guarded moment, it might be overlooked : but it is A fact ; 
a fact which, as Dr. Priestley himself expresses it, " can 
not be denied ;"f a fact, therefore, which must needs prove 
a millstone about the neck of his system. That doctrine, 
be it what it may, to which an indifference to religion is 
friendly, cannot be the gospel, or any thing pertaining to 
it, but something very near akin to infidelity. 

If it be objected, that the immoral character of persons, 
previously to their embracing a set of principles, ought not 
to be alleged against the moral tendency of those prin 
ciples, because, if it were, Christianity itself would be dis 
honoured by the previous character of many of the primi 
tive Christians, it is replied, there are two circumstances 
necessary to render this objection of any force. First, the 
previous character of the convert, however wicked it may 
have been, must have no influence on his conversion. 
Secondly, this conversion must have such an influence on 
him that, whatever may have been his past character, his 
future life shall be devoted to God. Both these circum 
stances existed in the case of the primitive Christians ; 
and if the same could be said of the converts to Socinian 
ism, it is acknowledged that all objections from this 
quarter ought to give way. But this is n< the case. 
Socinian converts are not only allowed, many of them, to 
be men of no religion ; but the want of religion, as we 
have seen already, is allowed to have influenced their con 
version. Nor is this all : it is allowed that their conver 
sion to these principles has no such influence upon them 
as to make any material change in their character for the 
better. This is a fact tacitly admitted by Mr. Belsham, 
in that he goes about to account for it, by alleging what 
was their character previously to their conversion. It is 
true he talks of this being the case " only for a time," 
and, at length, these converts are to " have their eyes 
opened ; are to feel the benign influence of their prin 
ciples, and demonstrate the excellency of their faith by the 
superior dignity and worth of their character." But these, 
it seems, like " the annihilation of death" and the con 
version of Jews and Mahometans by the Socinian doctrine, 
are things yet to come.\ 

quotation in page GO, which also was referred to at the commence 
ment of the Preface Dr. P., it has been said, in the place from n Inch 
the passage is taken, " was not commending a total indifference to re 
ligion, but the contrary; and his meaning was, not that such a disre 
gard to all religion is a better qualification for discerning truth than a 
serious temper of mind, but that it if preferable to that bigoted 
attachment to a system which some people discover." 

That Dr. P.'s leading design was to commend a total indifference to 
religion was never suggested. 1 suppose this, on the contrary, was to 
commend good discipline among the Unitarians, for the purpose of 
promoting religious zeal. His words are (accounting for the want of 
zeal among them)" It cannot be denied that many of those who judge 
so truly, concerning particular tenets in religion, have attained 16 
that cool, unbiassed temper of mind in consequence of becoming more 
indifferent to religion in general, and to all the modes and doctrines of 
it. Though, therefore, they are in a more favourable situation for 



62 



THE NUMBER OP SOCINIAN CONVERTS. 



But, it will be pleaded, though many who go over to 
Socinianism are men of no religion, and continue to " lean 
to a life of dissipation," yet this is not the case with all : 
there are some who are exemplary in their lives, men of 
eminent piety and virtue, and who are distinguished by 
Dr. Priestley by the name of " serious Christians." * To 
this it is replied 

First, Whatever piety or virtue there may be among 
Socinian converts, it may be doubted whether piety or virtue 
led them to embrace that scheme, or was much in exercise 
in their researches after it. It has been observed by some 
who have been most conversant with them, that as they 
have discovered a predilection for those views of things, it 
has been very common for them to discover at the same 
time a light-minded temper, speaking of sacred things, 
and disputing about them, with the most unbecoming 
levity and indecent freedom ; avoiding all conversation on 
experimental and devotional subjects, and directing their 
whole discourse to matters of mere speculation. Indeed, 
piety and virtue are, in effect, acknowledged to be unfavour 
able to the embracing of the Socinian scheme ; for if " an 
indifference to religion in general be favourable to the 
distinguishing between truth and falsehood," and if " those 
men who are the most indifferent to the practice of religion 
will ever be the first to embrace the rational system," it 
must follow, by the rule of contraries, that piety, virtue, 
and zeal for religion, are things unfavourable to that sys 
tem, and that pious and virtuous persons will ever be the 
last to embrace it ; nay, some may think it very doubtful 
whether they ever embrace it at all. Serious Christians, 
according to the account of Mrs. Barbauld, are the most 

distinguishing between truth and falsehood, they are not likely to 
acquire a zeal for what they conceive to be the truth." 

The leading design of Dr. P. in this passage, it is allowed, was to 
recommend good discipline, as friendly to zeal ; and, as a previous 
indifference to religion in general was unfavourable to that temper of 
mind which he wished to inspire, in this view he is to be understood 
as blaming it. Yet, in an incidental manner, he as plainly acknow 
ledges it to have been favourable for distinguishing between truth and 
falsehood ; and, in this view, he must be understood as commending 
it. That he does commend it, though in an incidental way, is mani 
fest from his attributing their judging so truly concerning particular 
tenets in religion to it ; and that not merely as an occasion, but as an 
adequate cause, producing a good effect ; rendering the mind more 
cool and unbiassed than it was before. To suppose that Dr. P. does 
not mean to recommend indifference to religion in general, as friendly 
to truth, (though unfriendly to zeal,) is supposing him not to mean 
what he says. 

As to the question, Whether Dr. P. means to compare an indiffer 
ence to religion in general with a serious temper of mind, or with a 
spirit of bigotry, it cannot be the latter, unless he considers the 
characters of whom he speaks as having been formerly bigoted in their 
attachment to modes and forms ; for he is not comparing them with 
other people, but with themselves at a former period. So long as they 
regarded religion in general, according to his account, they were in a 
less favourable situation for distinguishing between truth and false 
hood than when they came to disregard it. Dr. P.'s own account of 
these characters seems to agree with mere men of the world, rather than 
with religious bigots. They were persons, he says, who troubled 
themselves very little about religion, but who had been led to turn 
their attention to the dispute concerning the person of Christ, and, by 
their natural good sense, had decided upon it. To this effect he writes 
in pages 96, 97, of his " Discourses on Various Subjects." Now this 
is far from answering to the character of religious bigots, or of those 
who at any time have sustained that character. 

But, waving this, let us suppose that the regard which those cha 
racters bore towards religion in general was the regard of bigots. In 
this case they were a kind of Pharisees, attached to modes and forms, 
which blinded their minds from discovering the truth. Afterwards 
they approached nearer to the Sadducees, became more indifferent to 
religion in general, and to all the modes and doctrines of it. The 
amount of Dr. P.'s position would then be, that the spirit of a Sadducee 
is preferable, with respect to discerning truth, to that of a Pharisee, 
possessing more of a cool, unbiassed temper of mind. The reply that 
I should make to this is, that neither Pharisees nor Sadducees possess 
that temper of mind of which Dr. P. speaks, but are both " a genera 
tion of vipers," different in some respects, but equally malignant to 
wards the true gospel of Christ; and that the humble, the candid, the 
serious, and the upright inquirers after truth are the only persons 
likely to find it. And this is the substance of what 1 advanced in the 
first page of the Preface, which has been charged as a misrepresenta 
tion. 1 never suggested that Dr. P. was comparing the characters in 
question with the serious or the candid ; but rather that, let the com 
parison respect whom it might, his attributing an unbiassed temper of 
mind to men, in consequence of their becoming indifferent to religion 
in general, was erroneous ; for that he who is not a friend to religion 
in any mode is an enemy to it in all modes, and ought not to be com 
plimented as being in a favourable situation for distinguishing between 
truth and falsehood. 

A writer in the Monthly Review has laboured to bring Mr. Belsham 
off in the same manner ; but instead of affording him any relief, he 
has betrayed the cause he has espoused, and made Mr. B. reason in a 
manner unworthy of his abilities. "We apprehend," says this 



difficult sort of people that Socinian writers and preacher 
have to deal with ; for though they are sometimes brougb. 
to renounce the Calvinistic doctrines in theory, yet then 
is a sort of leaning towards them in their hearts, whicl 
their teachers know not how to eradicate. " These doc 
triiies," she says, " it is true, among thinking people, an 
losing ground ; but there is still apparent, in that clas 
called serious Christians, a tenderness in exposing them 
a sort of leaning towards them, as in walking over a pre 
cipice one should lean to the safest side ; an idea that the; 
are, if not true, at least good to be believed, and that i 
salutary error is better than a dangerous truth. "f 

Secondly, Whatever virtue there may be among Sociniai 
converts, it may be questioned whether the distinguishing 
principles of Socinianism have any tendency towards pro 
moting it. The principles which they hold in common 
with us, namely, the resurrection of the dead, and a fu 
ture life, and not those in which they are distinguished 
from us, are confessedly the springs of their virtue. As to 
the simple humanity of Christ, which is one of the distin 
guishing principles of Socinianism, Dr. Priestley acknow 
ledges that " the connexion between this simple truth and 
a regular Christian life is very slight." J " That," says the 
same author, " which is most favourable to virtue in Chris 
tianity is the expectation of a future state of retribution, 
grounded on a firm belief of the historical facts recorded 
in the Scriptures ; especially the miracles, the death, and 
resurrection of Christ. The man who believes these things 
only, ana who, together with this, acknowledges a universal 
providence, ordering all events who is persuaded that o 
very hearts are constantly open to Divine inspection, 

writer, " that Mr. B. does not mean to assert, nor even to intimat 
that indifference to religious practice prepared the mind for the a< 
mission of that religious truth which prompts virtuous conduct. 
Mr. B., however, does intimate, and even assert, that " the men wf 
are the most indifferent to the practice of religion will ever be the fi; 
not only to see the absurdity of a popular superstition, but to embrc 
a rational system of faith." Does the Reviewer mean, then, to ac 
knowledge that the rational system does not include that kind of truth 
which prompts virtuous conduct ? There is no truth in his expressions 
but upon this supposition. 

But this writer not only informs us what Mr. B. did not mean, but 
what he did mean. (One would think the Reviewer of Dr. Williams 
must have been very intimate with Mr. B.) Mr. Belsham meant.it 
seems, " that the absurdities of a popular superstition are more apt 
to strike the mind of those who are even indifferent to religion than of 
those who are bigoted in their attachment to particular creeds and 
rites ; and, therefore, that the former will be more inclined to allow 
reason to mould their faith than the latter." Review of Dr. Williams'l 
Answer to Mr. Belsham. Jan. 1792. 

To be sure, if a Reviewer may be allowed to add a few such word 
as more, and than, and even to Mr. B.'s language, he may smooth il 
rough edges, and render it less exceptionable ; but is it true that thi 
was Mr. B.'s meaning, or that such a meaning would ever have bee 
invented, but to serve a turn ? 

If there be any way of coming at an author's meaning, it is by hi 
words, and by the scope of his reasoning ; but neither the one nor th 
other will warrant this construction. Mr. B.'s words are these : " Th 
men who are the most indifferent to the practice of religion will eve 
be the first to embrace a rational system of faith." If he intrude 
merely to assert that immoral characters will embrace the truth befop 
bigots, his words are abundantly too strong for his meaning; for 
though the latter were allowed to be the last in embracing truth, it 
will not follow that the former will be the/tr**. If the rational system 
were on the side of truth, surely it might be expected that the serious 
and the upright would be Ihejirst to embrace it. But this is not pre 
tended. Sertous Christians, by the acknowledgment of Mrs. Barbauld, 
are the last that come fully into it. 

The scope of Mr. Belsham' s reasoning is equally unfavourable to 
such a construction as his words are. There is nothing in the objec 
tion which he encounter* that admits of such an answer. It wa 
not alleged. That there was a greater proportion of immoral charac 
ters than of bigots among the Unitarians ; had this been the charge, 
the answer put into Mr. B.'s lips might have been in point. But the 
charge, as he himself expresses it, was simply this " Rational Chris 
tians are often represented as indifferent to practical religion." To 
suppose that Mr. B. would account for this by alleging that immoral 
characters are more likely to embrace the truth than bigots, (unless he 
denominate all bigots who are not Unitarians,) is supposing him to 
have left the objection unanswered. How is it that there should be so 
great a proportion of immoral characters, rather than of humble, 
serious, and godly men, or of what Mr. Belsham calls " practical 
believers ? " This was the spirit of the objection ; and if the above 
construction of Mr. B.'s words be admitted, it remains unanswered. 

Let Dr. Priestley, or Mr. Belsham, or any of their advocates, who 
have charged the above quotations with misrepresentation, come 
forward, and, if they be able, make good the charge. Till this is 
done, I shall consider them as fair and just, and as including conces 
sions, which, though possibly made in an unguarded moment, contain 
a truth which must prove a millstone about the neck of the Socinian 
system. * Disc. p. 98. 

+ Remarks on Wakefield's Inquiry on Social Worship. 

t Disc. p. 97. 



THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 



63 



that no iniquity, or purpose of it, can escape his observa 
tion, will nut be a bad man, or a dangerous member of so- 
"* Now these are things in which we are all 
agreed ; whatever virtue, therefore, is ascribed to them, it 
is not, strictly speaking, the result of Socinian principles. 
If, in addition to this, we were to impute a considerable 
degree of the virtue of Socinian converts to " the principles 
in which they were educated, and the influence to which 
-.vere exposed in the former part of their lives," we 
should only say of them what Dr. Priestley says of the vir- 
tii-'i- Iht-s of some atheists ; and perhaps we should have 
is good grounds for such an imputation in the one case as 
he had in the other.f 

Among the various Socinian converts, have we ever been 
used to hear of any remarkable change of life or behaviour 
which a conversion to their peculiar principles effected 1 I 
hope there are few Calvinistic congregations in the king 
dom, but what could point out examples of persons among 
them, who, at the time of their coming over to their doc 
trinal principles, came over also from the course of this 
world, and have ever since lived in newness of life. Can 
this be said of the generality of Socinian congregations t 
Those who have had the greatest opportunity of observing 
them say the contrary. Yea, they add that the conversion 
of sinners to a life of holiness does not appear to be their 
aim ; that their concern seems to be to persuade those who, 
in their account, have too much religion, that less will 
suffice, rather than to address themselves to the irreligious, 
to convince them of their defect. A great part of Dr. 
Priestley's sermon on the death of Mr. Robinson is of this 
tendency. Instead of concurring with the mind of God, 
as expressed in his word, " Oh that my people were wise, 
that they would consider their latter end!" the preacher 
goes about to dissuade his hearers from thinking too much 
upon that unwelcome subject. 

You will judge, from these things, brethren, whether 
there be any cause for boasting, on the part of the So- 
cinians, in the number of converts which they tell us are 
continually making to their principles ; or for discourage 
ment on the side of the Calvinists, as if what they account 
the cause of God and truth were going fast to decline. 



LETTER V. 

ON THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 

You have observed that Dr. Priestley charges the Calvin 
istic system with being unfriendly to morality, " as giving 
wrong impressions concerning the character and moral 
government of God, and as relaxing the obligations of vir 
tue." That you may judge of the propriety of this heavy 
charge, and whether our system, or his own, tend most to 
" relax the obligations of virtue," it seems proper to in 
quire, tchich of them affords the moat licentious notions of 
virtue itself. To suppose that the scheme which pleads 
for relaxation, both in the precept and in the penalty of 
the great rule of Divine government, should, after all, relax 
the least, is highly paradoxical. The system, be it which 
it may, that teaches us to lower the standard of obedience, 
or to make light of the nature of disobedience, must surely 
be the system which relaxes the obligations of virtue, and, 
consequently, is of an immoral tendency. 

The eternal standard of right and wrong is the moral 
law, summed up in love to God vrith all the heart, soul, 
mind, and strength, and to our neighbour as ourselves. 
This law is holy, just, and good : holy, as requiring perfect 
conformity to God ; just, as being founded in the strictest 
equity ; and good, as being equally adapted to promote the 
happiness of the creature and the glory of the Creator. 
Nor have we any notion of the precept of the law being 
abated, or a jot or tittle of it being given up, in order to 
suit the inclinations of depraved creatures. We do not 
conceive the law to be more strict than it ought to be, even 
considering our present circumstances, because we con 
sider the evil propensity of the heart, which alone renders 

Letter V. to Mr. Burn. + Let. Unb. P. I. Pref. ri. 

t Apology, 4lhed. p. 48. || 



us incapable of perfect obedience, as no excuse. Neither 
do we plead for the relaxation of the penalty of the law 
upon the footing of equity ; but insist that, though God, 
through the mediation of his Son, doth not mark iniquity 
in those that wait on him, yet he might do so consistently 
with justice ; and that his not doing so is of mere grace. 
I hope these sentiments do not tend to " relax the obliga 
tions of virtue." Let us inquire whether the same may be 
said of the scheme of our opponents. 

It may be thought that, in these matters, in some of 
them at least, we are agreed. And, indeed, I suppose few 
will care to deny, in express terms, that the moral law, 
consisting of a requisition to love God with all the heart, 
and our neighbour as ourselves, is an eternal standard of 
right and wrong. But let it be considered whether the 
Socinians, in their descriptions of virtue and vice, do not 
greatly overlook the former branch of it, and almost confine 
themselves to those duties which belong to the latter. It 
has been long observed, of writers of that stamp, that they 
exalt what are called the social virtues, or those virtues 
which respect society, to the neglect, and often at the ex 
pense, of others which more immediately respect the God 
that made us. It is a very common thing for Socinians to 
make light of religious principle, and to represent it as of 
little importance to our future well-being. Under the 
specious name of liberality of sentiment, they dispense with 
that part of the will of God which requires every thought 
to be in subjection to the obedience of Christ ; and, under 
the guise of candour and charity, excuse those who fall 
under the Divine censure. The Scripture speaks of those 
" who deny the Lord that bought them, bringing upon 
themselves swift destruction " and " of those who receive 
not the love of the truth, being given up to believe a lie." 
But the minds of Socinian writers appear to revolt at 
ideas of this kind : the tenor of their writings is to per 
suade mankind that sentiments may be accepted, or rejected, 
without endangering their salvation. Infidels have some 
times complained of Christianity, as a kind of insult to 
their dignity, on account of its dealing in threatening! ; 
but Dr. Priestley, in his Letters to the Philosophers and 
Politicians of France, has quite removed this stumbling- 
block out of their way. He accounts for their infidelity 
in such a way as to acquit them of blame, and enforces 
Christianity upon them by the most inoffensive motives. 
Not one word is intimated as if there was any danger as to 
futurity, though they should continue infidels, or even 
atheists, till death. The only string upon which he harps, 
as I remember, is, that could they but embrace Chris 
tianity, they would be much happier than they are ! 

If I entertain degrading notions of the person of Christ, 
and if I err from the truth in so doing, my error, according 
to Mr. Lindsey, is innocent,* and no one ought to think 
the worse of me on that account. But if I happen to be 
of opinion that he who rejects the Deity and atonement of 
Christ is not a Christian, I give great offence. But where 
fore 1 Suppose it an error, why should it not be as inno 
cent as the former 1 and why ought I to be reproached as 
an illiberal, uncharitable bigot for this, while no one ought 
to think the worse of me for the other 1 Can this be any 
otherwise accounted for, than by supposing that those who 
reason in this manner are more concerned for their own 
honour than for that of Christ t 

Dr. Priestley, it may be noted, makes much lighter of 
error when speaking on the supposition of its being found 
in himself, than when he supposes it to be found in his 
opponents. He charges Mr. Venn, and others, with 
" striving to render those who differ from them in some 
speculative points odious to their fellow Christians ; " and 
elsewhere suggests that " we shall not be judged at the 
last day according to our opinions, but our works ; not 
according to what we have thought of Christ, but as we 
have obeyed his commands :" as if it were no distin 
guishing property of a good work that it originate in a 
good principle ; and as if the meanest opinion, and the 
most degrading thoughts of Jesus Christ, were consistent 
with obedience to him. But when he himself becomes 
the accuser, the case is altered, and instead of reckoning 
the supposed errors of the Trinitarians to be merely specu- 

\ Considerations on Differences of Opinion,) III. Def. Unit. 1786, 
p. 59. Ditto 1787, p. 68. 



f>4 



THE STANDARD OF MORALITY. 



latter points, and harmless opinions, they are said to be 
" idolatrous and blasphemous" * But idolatry and blas 
phemy will not only be brought into account at the day 
of judgment, but be Tery offensive in the eyes of God, 
1 Cor. vi. 9. For my part, I am not offended with Dr. 
Priestley, or any other Socinian, for calling the worship 
that I pay to Christ idolatry and blasphemy ; because, if 
he be only a man, what they say is just. If they can 
acquit themselves of sin in thinking meanly of Christ, 
they certainly can do the same in speaking meanly of him; 
and words ought to correspond with thoughts. I only 
think they should not trifle in such a manner as they do 
with error, when it is supposed to have place in themselves, 
any more than when they charge it upon their opponents. 

If Dr. Priestley had formed his estimate of human 
virtue by that great standard which requires love to God 
with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to our 
neighbour as ourselves, instead of representing men by 
nature as having "more virtue than vice," "f he must have 
acknowledged, with the Scriptures, that "the whole world 
lieth in wickedness" that "every thought and imagina 
tion of their heart is only evil continually " and that 
" there is none of them that doeth good, no, not one." 

If Mr. Belsham, in the mids